July 19, 2010
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality warned that much of Virginia is at risk for a drought. While a drought watch has not be issued locally, officials are keeping a close eye on water levels.
"We are not quite at the threshold to declare a drought watch, but it's close enough that we're continuing to observe and monitor the situation," said Tom Frederick, Director of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority.
Frederick says the lack of rain is causing stream flows to drop, which means the area is becoming more and more dependent on reservoirs for water.
"The South Fork Rivanna, which is the principal reservoir is full. It did drop a couple of inches a couple of weeks ago, and then we got a little bit of rain and it refilled. More importantly, the Sugar Hollow Reservoir in a smaller watershed area is down about 2.2 feet right now," said Frederick.
Officials are encouraging everyone to conserve water whenever possible, however there are not any specific water restrictions in place yet. Frederick says the Charlottesville area is not in any immediate danger of a drought, but could be if current conditions continue.
Charlottesville resident Peter Krebs is not waiting on those restrictions to be announced. He's been collecting water in a rain barrel all summer and limiting his usage as the temperatures rise.
"Even if there were no danger of going into a drought phase, we would save water. As we're approaching one, we're really trying [to conserve]. If we go into a drought phase, there will be no choice," said Krebs.
Even without specific restrictions in place, RWSA leaders are always encouraging conservation.