Local Water Decision

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

April 18, 2006

Tonight the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority announced it has a plan to battle a water shortage. The detailed plan took over a year and a half to construct, and now local officials are looking to move forward.

When you turn on the faucet, you probably don't think of where the water comes from. To keep it flowing, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority has devised a plan to protect the local watershed.

"Expanding the Ragged Mountain Reservoir allows us to continue to use the water that is in our own watershed," said Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority Executive Director Tom Frederick.

The expansion is a several step process that includes reconstructing the Ragged Mountain Dam adding an additional 45 feet.

A 36 inch pipeline would connect the South Fork Reservoir to the Ragged Mountain Reservoir. The extra 45 feet of dam would create more storage thus adding more insurance in case of a drought.

"People who relate to the need for an additional water supply probably think about the 2002 drought," Frederick said.

The drought of 2002 depleted the water levels to an alarming level. In response to that and area growth, the RWSA decided they needed to move forward with changes. These changes were well received by most.

"This can serve as a model for other communities and quite frankly it makes me proud to say I live here," said resident John Martin.

"We applaud this decision and we are really tickled to death with this solution to our local watershed," said Jeff Werner with the Piedmont Environmental Council.

The $130 million project could break ground in the next two years. The dam would be built in two phases, and Phase 1 would take about 3 years to complete. The project should take care of water shortage issues for the next 50 years.

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