A new citizen group called Charlottesville Open Government Alliance has formed to raise funds for and support a legal effort to stop the Ragged Mountain Project. Read more about the lawsuit below.
Sign the petition to Stop the Illegal Ragged Mountain Dam Plan!
On January 17, 2012, Charlottesville City Council voted 3-2 to approve a highly controversial cost-share agreement and a land transfer, and approval to build the new Ragged Mountain dam to its full original height essentially giving up hundreds of millions of dollars in city assets.
On March 23, Charlottesville resident (and immigration lawyer) Stan Breverman, filed a lawsuit claiming the agreements were approved illegally. Breverman contends that the agreed to leases for land and water rights are essentially a sale and therefore, according to City Code, a referendum of the people is required and according to the Virginia State Constitution a supermajority of Council is required for approval. Read more here.
The following is what 3 of the 5 city councilors signed away.
On October 17, 2011 In a 3-2 vote, City Council approves Regional Water Plan that includes outdated and inaccurate information and withholds relevant information required by the state
Read CSWP letter to City Council
Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan sent letters to state and federal regulators requesting reevaluation and termination of permits to build a new dam at the Ragged Mountain Natural Area based on their respective regulations.
CSWP letter to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality: April 5, 2011
CSWP letter to the federal Army Corps of Engineers: April 5, 2011
CSWP Press release: April 12, 2011
Permit modification letter submitted to DEQ and COE by RWSA: March 22, 2011
Hydrologics Report that accompanied permit modification letter
CSWP letter to DEQ and COE in response to permit modification: April 12, 2011
CITIZENS FOR A SUSTAINABLE WATER PLAN
is a group of local citizens concerned about the environmental, financial, and social implications of the 50-year Community Water Plan for the Charlottesville Urban Service Area. We believe that there has been incomplete and misleading information about the plan.
In addition, new studies commissioned since the adoption of the plan has revealed significant new information that contradicts the information on which the plan was presented and permitted.
We feel that our elected officials have the fudiciary obligation to consider all this new information and modify plans for expansion based on the most recent and best information available.
How to insure an adequate water supply for the "Urban Service Area" - namely the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County's "urban ring" in the event of another drought of record (like that of 2002) anytime in the next 50 years.
The Charlottesville-Albemarle area has an abundance of water. The Rivanna River alone could supply all of the daily water needs into the foreseeable future. With three reservoirs serving the urban area, and a decreasing demand for water, there is no threat of a water shortage today, even in a drought.
However, many residents remember with anguish the drought of 2002, for its severe water restrictions. Even though 2002 is considered as the worst in record, our community still had more than 100 days of water storage left at the time the drought ended. Furthermore, in 2002 before the drought, we were using 15% more water on average than we are today. Due to conservation technology, water demand is decreasing across the country.
The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) commissioned a "Demand Analysis" in 2004 to project how much water the community will need in the year 2055. That study looked at data only through 2001 and disregarded the pending impact of the 1992 Energy Policy Act that mandated low-volume, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures. The 2004 study estimated a demand of 19.8 mgd, up from 11.2 mgd in 2001. Factoring in a mere 5% conservation goal, they adjusted the demand projection to 18.7 mgd by 2055.
In the last decade water use in the Charlottewville-Albemarle area has decreased dramatically, despite a 12% rise in population. This is largely due to the federal Energy Policy Act of 1992 that set mandatory conservation standards for high efficiency toilets, showerheads and faucets manufactured after 1994. It is anticipated that there will be a 50% reduction in the water used by these three fixtures alone. The water savings will likely be much greater though as other fixtures such as washing machines are replaced with high efficiency models and even greater innovations in HE fixtures come on line.
This is playing out locally, as we observe that the urban community is using 26% less water than the Demand Analysis projected. Factoring in actual water use data since 2001 - and, without considering future advances in conservation, we conservatively estimate our urban community will need no more than 14.5 mgd by 2055.
RWSA and the proponents of the Community Water Plan propose to reconfigure the reservoir system from three moderately sized reservoirs to one large reservoir that will flow under I-64.
The plan includes:
The Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan propose to restore the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir to as near its original capacity as possible.
Current estimates for the RWSA Community Water Plan are in the range of $143 million ($280 M with financing).
The Alternative Plan is estimated to cost less than $70 million ($110 M with financing).
Compare various alternatives to the plan in this matrix of costs and impacts.
Timeline for the Development of the Water Supply Plan
A not-so-public process