Debate Over Dam Funding

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

September 13, 2007

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority says a new dam will add billions of gallons of water to our supply, but it will cost millions to build.
Money to pay for it, may come out of your pocket.

The plan for a new Ragged Mountain Dam should help the area out of drought warnings. It's designed to meet the needs of our community the next 50 years.

The RWSA has plans to tear down the old dam, and build a new one.

"We're at a turning point, we've decided that ragged mountain is going to be a project we've convinced state and regulatory officials that that is the right project and complies with their rules and regulations now we've got to talk about how to get it build on the ground," Tom Frederick, RWSA Director says.

At a public meeting Thursday night, the focus is on how to build the dam, and the financial challenges that come with it.

The RWSA's project is funded through charges from the Charlottesville and Albemarle County Service Authority. They establish rates for collecting money from you.

"This is a 50 year long term plan so it gets into how do you break up the pieces to make it a little bit easier now on the existing people who pay for water rates," Frederick says.

Before you'll know how your wallet will be impacted, the county and the city have to make some decisions.

"We won't have all the answers tonight but it's a good time for citizens who are interested in this process to get involved on the ground level and carry it through into future discussions," Frederick says.

Leaders say the new dam is a project we can't afford to go without.

Frederick says, "I think the drought warning we're in is a sign of the current times, we have very limited storage today so as dry conditions occur we don't have the cushion that we really need as a community."

The public meeting is held Wednesday night at 6 at the Albemarle County Office Building.

The board hopes to have the Ragged Mountain Dam project finished in 2011.

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