What You Can Do

Key Issues in the Water Debate

RWSA = Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority

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  • The RWSA Plan is oversized

The plan to build a new dam and pipeline is based on obsolete data. In the last decade, water usage has DROPPED DRAMATICALLY due to changes in plumbing fixtures, best management practices and conservation. The RWSA plan is AT LEAST 25% OVERSIZED, possibly MUCH MORE.

  • The RWSA Plan is overpriced – water bills will skyrocket

In the next 10 years, annual debt payments will increase from $3 million to $12 million --  doubling the water authority’s water charges to the urban community.  And that’s just for water. It does not even begin to address the serious sewer issues facing our community.

  • RWSA told us dredging would cost 223 Million – but it’s not true
Thanks to a study funded by city council we now know that dredging the Rivanna Reservoir will cost $35 million and probably far less.
  • The RWSA Plan DESTROYS all three city-owned reservoirs.

The city of Charlottesville OWNS three reservoirs that hold nearly 2 billion gallons of water. The RWSA Water Plan calls for the abandonment of two of them -- Sugar Hollow and South Fork Rivanna Reservoir and the replacement of the Ragged Mountain Reservoir. With NO water storage resources left, city residents will be FORCED to pay for new infrastructure estimated to cost over 150 MILLION DOLLARS.

  • The RWSA Plan DESTROYS valuable city natural resources

The Ragged Mountain Reservoir sits in a beautiful park OWNED BY THE CITY. Its expansion will require clear cutting 180 ACRES OF A MATURE OAK-HICKORY FOREST within the Ragged Mountain Natural Area. Habitat destruction, loss of unique wetlands, and forest fragmentation will seriously imperil the survival of some of our most threatened wildlife.

  • The RWSA Plan is unsustainable

Ragged Mountain Reservoir – even today – CANNOT FILL ITSELF, due to very low inflow – yet the plan calls to quadruple its capacity. In order to fill it, RWSA must install a 9-mile uphill pipeline from the Rivanna River with high-power pumps, multiple pump stations and a new pre-treatment facility needed to get the silt out. Cut off from Sugar Hollow, the quality of city water will SUFFER.

  • The RWSA Plan puts public safety at risk

The expanded Ragged Mountain Reservoir will flow DIRECTLY UNDER I-64 – rising up the embankment to within 40 yards of the highway -- exposing the ONLY REMAINING urban reservoir to accidental or intentional hazardous spills.