July 17, 2013
Fluvanna County is debating the best way to supply water to the Zion Crossroads area to bring more businesses there.
The county is considering several options, and county leaders disagree on the costs and benefits of each of those options.
One option would cost the county $18 million over the next 20 years to pay Aqua Virginia to pull more water from the Rivanna River. The Aqua deal would provide at least 500,000 gallons of water per day, according to Shaun Kenney, the Chairman of the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors. Aqua Virginia is the same company that provides water to residents at Lake Monticello.
Another option would get 75,000 gallons of water a day from the Department of Corrections. Kenney says this option would cost up to $15 million, but county administrator Steve Nichols puts the number between $4 million and $7 million.
Nichols says there are a couple other options, including working with Louisa County to put a pipeline from the James River that could provide up to 1.5 million gallons of water a day. Kenney says that option has never been presented to the board of supervisors, and it would take much longer than the other options.
Nichols has suggested that the board use a combination of water from the Department of Corrections and groundwater wells to provide water to Zion Crossroads. He says bringing water to that area will help bring high-paying jobs to the area.
"What we're looking for is medical facilities that may be unique to the Charlottesville area," said Nichols. "Certainly some restaurants and motels would come along with any kind of growth, but businesses like tech businesses or businesses that require high-skilled labor."
Kenney says the Department of Corrections option will not provide enough reliable water supply to support the type of large-scale businesses Nichols wants.
But both Kenney and Nichols agree that it is time to finally reach a deal to get water to Zion Crossroads, after decades without a solution.
The board is planning to discuss the options during its meeting Wednesday night.
There is a public hearing about Aqua Virginia's proposal scheduled on August 7 at the Fluvanna County High School Auditorium.