Drought Warning Declared

By: Jummy Olabanji Email
By: Jummy Olabanji Email

August 15, 2007

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority has declared a drought warning for the Charlottesville-Albemarle area. The RWSA said drought conditions have elevated to a level where the warning is necessary.

The RWSA is now requesting the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the Charlottesville City Council hold a special meeting to authorize mandatory water restrictions. Albemarle County has called a meeting for Thursday to discuss the drought.

"At times like these, we are humbled by the power of nature and reminded of our individual responsibility to use water wisely," said RWSA Chairman Mike Gaffney. "I ask everyone in our community to exercise water conservation, so that we are collectively proactive in preserving our water supply."

A Drought Warning is the second stage of a three-stage program. A Drought Watch was declared on July 23. A drought emergency would be the third stage.

"Conservation efforts that we are taking right now help extend our water supply and that lowers the risk, or if we start getting some more abundant rainfall, and we can control the first one, but we really can't control the second one," said Tom Frederick, Executive Director of the RWSA.

Rainfall in 2007 is well below normal, and stream that flow in the Rivanna watershed are significantly below normal. The Sugar Hollow Reservoir is currently 6.7 feet below full. The Ragged Mountain Reservoir is 2.4 feet below full. The Beaver Creek Reservoir is 1.3 feet below full. The flow over the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir Dam stopped on Monday.

Both the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County are holding special meetings on Thursday afternoon to discuss whether or not to implement mandatory water restrictions for their respective localities.

"We think it's a good idea because we do have a limited water supply. No matter what you want think with the amount of water that we get from the sky it will run dry as we are seeing right now," said Rick Barrick, Charlottesville Spokesperson.

The last time Charlottesville-Albemarle was put under a drought warning was back in 2002.

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