Pipeline Protest

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

June 2, 2005

Residents in Scottsville are up-in-arms and searching for an alternative. They are trying to prevent the construction of a 25-mile pipeline that would link the James River with Charlottesville.

"The whole issue is do you want the county's water supply to be dependent on the James River? If you ask the folks in Scottsville, they say there isn't enough water at certain times of the year," said Tony Vanderwalker of the Piedmont Environment Council.

Residents from Scottsville gathered together today to protest the possibility of a pipeline running from the James River to supply water to Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority is considering a proposal to build a pipeline up Route 20 to the northern section of the county.

"We understand the water need, we are just asking them to stay local with their water concerns," said Scottsville Mayor R. Stephen Phipps.

The Water and Sewer Authority is looking for a way to bolster the amount of water to the area to meet the projected growth rate in the next 50 years. After the drought of 2003, the authority began exploring the James River as a possible supplement to the Rivanna water shed. According to the Piedmont Environmental Council, this pipeline could cause area problems.

"By going to the James River, you start relying on the stewardship of other communities, including Lynchburg," said Jeff Werner from the Piedmont Environmental Council.

Scottsville residents are worried that the pipeline could also bring unwanted growth to the area. If the pipeline ran through the mostly rural Route 20, it would give developers a chance to tap the water and build homes and businesses.

"We don't want the sprawling thing that they got in Fairfax County and Loudoun County and up North and certainly not around Charlottesville," said resident A. Scott Ward.

This outrage was sparked by recent meetings where the Water and Sewer Authority have given proposals to the Board of Supervisors. At this time the Board has no formal time table to resolve the issue.

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