State Approves Water Supply Plan

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

February 13, 2008

Rainy weather is certainly a good way to keep drought conditions at bay, but it's not always the most dependable. That's why the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority is working on a new drought management plan.

RWSA Director Tom Frederick says, "During dry periods, especially during severe droughts, the community is dependent upon water storage and enough water storage to last the duration of a drought to make sure the tap continues to run.”

This week, the Department of Environmental Equality approved a long term plan for the water supply. It's based around building a new Ragged Mountain Dam that will store four times more water, over two billion gallons.

The RWSA has a plan to store enough water for Charlottesville and Albemarle in the future.

"We think most of the community supports this plan and frankly, the amount of support we've received exceeds what I would have anticipated when we started this process," says Frederick.

Not everyone agrees.

We spoke to Kevin Lynch, former city councilor and member of the group, Citizens for Sustainable Water Supply Plan, and he says anyone who cares about the environment or their water bill should give this plan a second look.

The group is asking for alternatives to be studied and considered, such as the cost of dredging the dam, and they're worried about relying so heavily on the Ragged Mountain Reservoir in the future.

There is no disagreement; something has to be done to sustain a water supply.

Albemarle County Service Authority Executive Director Gary Fern says, "It's plan that's gone through quite a bit. I mean there were a number of alternatives investigated and it came down to this plan as the one selected for the community, by the community."

Planners hope to have the new dam finished by 2011.

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