FALSE. We do not have a water shortage in our area. We do, however, have an impending problem with loss of capacity to store reserves 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 could meet near-term and projected growth out for years to come. In addition, saving the SFRR would preserve a valuable community asset as well as allow considerable time to find additional capacity for the future.
FALSE. There are other - more sustainable - alternatives that stay within the Rivanna River watershed and that do NOT require destroying our valued natural resources.
FALSE. Calculated into the safe yield figures is the predicted loss of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir to siltation. With an original capacity of 1,700 MG, the water supply plan assumes that figure will be down to 400 MG by 2055. In a memo to City Council on November 19, 2007, Tom Frederick states that "..about one-third of the new water storage proposed at Ragged Mountain is to replace storage expected to be lost at South Fork in the next 50 years,.."
In fact, the one analysis done for the option to dredge the SFRR was conducted by a firm specializing in dam and pipeline building. In a recent series of investigative articles, The Hook has revealed shocking new information about the feasibility of dredging that could save rate payers millions. Read all about it.
Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan is asking County and City officials to seek an independent assessment of the cost of dredging by a firm specializing in environmental dredging.
In fact at an April 18, 2005 meeting with 14 state and federal regulators, Joseph Hassell of the Department of Environmental Quality said that the DEQ had never opposed a reservoir maintenance dredging. At the same meeting Michael Schwinn of the Army Corps of Engineers told the group of local officials that unless the Rivanna silt were deposited in a wetland or waterway, his agency wouldn't require a permit to dredge the Reservoir.
Read what "The Hook" discovered about dreging costs and permitting requirements.
THE MYTHS ABOUT DREDGING GO ON AND ON: Read more here
FALSE. The term "least environmentally damaging" is a regulatory label to assess impact on streams and wetlands. Dredging has no impact on streams or wetlands, unlike the current plan that requires $6million dollars of mitigation. The Hook article of March 6, 2008 says it best::
"regulators actually favor dredging because it meets the state law that demands the "least environmentally damaging of the practicable alternatives."
Regardless, If one considers the impact on the land-based environment of the current plan, the damage is staggering. Loss of 180 acres of prime wildlife habitat to flooding and permanent roads, as well as the loss of the SFRR was ignored in this designation.
Relying on one reservoir puts the community water supply and its residents at significant risk.
Why? Most importantly, the new RMR will lie directly under I-64 rising to within 40 yards of the highway. Not only does this put the water supply at risk of hazardous spills, it also may endanger the stability of the road itself. This issue is clearly stated in a 2005 technical memorandum (see pp 8-9) where it states, "Another potential adverse impact to the I-64 embankment relates to the stability of the engineered highway embankment slopes both on the northern and southern sides. According to Special Report 247 “Landslides – Investigation and Mitigation” by the Transportation Research Board (TRB), water-level change adjacent to a slope is one of the most common causes for landslides or slope instability."
In addition to the water quality issue discussed in myth #4, quantity of water is a significant issue. Under our current water supply, there are three reservoirs serving the community. In dry periods, water levels in the SHR and RMR fall fairly quickly. However, the water level in the SFRR is rarely less than full. This is because, the SFRR has a very large watershed of 260 square miles. What that means is that even a little rain contributes a large volume of water to refill the reservoir.
The new mega-reservoir at RMR, on the other hand, has virtually no watershed (<2 square miles.) It cannot fill itself. Water must be pumped from the Rivanna River to fill the RMR. Yet under this plan, when the SFRR is allowed to silt in, available water will be limited to run of the river. In addition, the system's capability to transfer water will be limited to 25 MGD (after pulling the 20 MG daily demand.) By abandoning the SFRR for the expanded RMR, our capacity to recover from even a mild drought will be greatly diminished
FALSE. This plan was NEVER discussed at any of the first eight (of nine) public meetings including joint board meetings held to evaluate and compare the list of options that had been narrowed down as part of the planning process.
See timeline of planning process.
In a meeting held on April 18, 2005, for the joint boards and 15 federal and state regulators, the Chair of the RWSA Board stated publicly that four options were still on the table (top of page 4) citing extensive public input. NONE of them were the current plan. At the next public meeting on October 27, 2005, the new concept of linking the SFRR to RMR via a new pipeline was presented for the first time and then as one of only two options (the James River being the other) and shortly after on April 18, 2006 it was announced by RWSA as the "preferred alternative." See timeline of planning process.
FALSE. The SFRR pipeline dramatically alters how the water supply is secured and delivered in the Urban System. Changes include:
FALSE. Half of all county residents will NOT pay for the plan. All city residents and those county residents who receive a water bill (not on a well) will be expected to foot the bill to secure water for the doubling of Albemarle's population.