On September 20, 2010, the Charlottesville City Council unanimously approved a modified plan of action to assure adequate water supply in the case of drought for the Urban Service Area.

However, on February 22, 2011, City Councilors Brown, Huja, and Szakos changed the resolution to heighten the dam height by 17 feet, eliminating much of the environmental benefit of the September compromise. Read the revised resolution here.

The foundation of the September 20th City Council resolution embraced the tenets of SUSTAINABILITY including:

CONSERVATION as an important planning tool
DREDGING to restore the SFRR leads to preservation of natural resources
PROTECTION of ALL our rivers is best acheived by using LESS water
PHASING of the RMR dam height will provide flexibility and preservation
FAIR and EQUITABLE distribution of cost through phasing.


The resolution reads “To aggressively promote CONSERVATION of water and REDUCTION IN LEAKAGE in the next 20-40 year period”

  • New standards in AWWA water planning calls for putting DEMAND MANGAGEMENT on a “level playing field” with SUPPLY MANAGEMENT. This is exactly what this resolution calls for. City Council should be applauded for their progressive stand on demand management.
    • In the last 8 years, the City has reduced its water use by 25.5%.
    • In the last 8 years, the City used an average of 3.3 mgd  (down from 4.4 mgd for decades before)
    • In 2010, at 3.1 mgd, the city used less water than any time since 1983
  • Auxillary Benefits of Water Conservation: By reducing the amount of water you withdraw, treat, distribute, and impound you:
      • Save Energy
      • Reduce chemical use
      • Reduce wastewater costs and impacts
      • Avoid cost of expensive new infrastructure


The resolution reads, “To conduct [restorative] hydraulic dredging of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir “

    • Appeal to City Council to proceed with an RFP for dredging the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir AS PART OF THE FUTURE WATER SUPPLY before committing to a dam height at Ragged Mountain.
    • PRESERVATION AND RESTORATION of our current resources before building new infrastructure is the cornerstone of SUSTAINABILITY.
    • The city owns the SFRR as well as much of the water storage currently held there. Allowing the SFRR to silt in will be a loss of TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars in assets that must be replaced, by raising money through water rate hikes.
    • The ONLY reason we have a storage issue is due to the neglect of our current facilities. By addressing the siltation of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir (SFRR) in a positive and scientific way, the community can meet both near-term and projected growth for decades to come.

Dredging the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir NOW is all we need!
Learn more about the most economical way to dredge



The resolution reads, “Commit to adequate water flow to the Moormans River and South Fork Rivanna River “

  • The best way to protect stream flows is to REDUCE our overall water use = conservation!
  • Repair of the spillway at Ragged Mountain or a modest rise in the dam height is a MUCH MORE SUSTAINABLE approach to preservation and restoration of stream flows in both the Moormans and the Rivanna.
  • If a full height earthen dam is built, it WILL BE FILLED via the Moormans, a highly destructive impact on a small river.
  • A new pipeline from the South Fork Rivanna is not scheduled to be built for 10-15 years and may well NEVER BE BUILT  if demand fails to rise at the rate they hope. In the meantime the Moormans will be the sole source of water to fill the new volume at Ragged Mountain – requiring a maximum withdrawal of water from the Moormans for years to fill and refill the expanded Ragged Mt Reservoir.


The resolution reads, “Permit a dam with a height of up to 42 feet to be done in phases with the first phase being constructed to 13 feet in height and construction to an additional 29 feet as needed to meet adequate water supply needs. “

  • The 135 foot earthen dam proposed by RWSA does not lend itself to phasing. It is an ALL OR NONE proposal.
  • PHASING allows the expansion of the reservoir system to be implemented in logical and cost-effective increments, rather than all at once, in order to improve efficiency, conserve resources, and minimize costs and mitigate the impact on customer rate increases.
  • PHASING of any additional dam height is the most cost effective and environmentally sensitive approach to increasing the water storage capacity of the system.
  • PHASING allows the community to respond to both a lower as well as a higher demand than projected as needed.
  • PHASING puts the LEAST STRESS on the Moormans River to fill the expanded reservoir.


The Resolution reads, “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the construction of the improvements contemplated by this water supply plan is contingent on the approval by City Council of a cost allocation agreement for each component of the plan between the City, the Albemarle County Service Authority
The City stands to loses literally hundreds of millions of dollars in water assets through this plan.

    • Remind City Council that it is imperative that they KNOW what the impact will be on city resident water rates BEFORE they agree to any aspect of the future water plan.
    • The City is NOT expected to need ANY MORE CAPACITY in the foreseeable future, particularly given its commitment to continued support of water conservation