Will the Rivanna River Still Flow?

The 50-year water supply proposal will double (or more) daily water intake from the South Fork Rivanna River at the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir (SFRR) -- even when the reservoir returns to a riverine system as siltation reduces its capacity. In addition, the water needed to fill and refill the expanded Ragged Mountain Reservoir - two billion gallons - will be drawn from the same intake source.

Today, the RWSA follows a policy of releasing a minimum of 8 mgd from the SFRR dam. Under the new DEQ permit, that is allowed to fall to 1.3 mgd.

Today, at least 8 million gallons of water goes over the dam 97% of the time. That will be allowed to fall to 50% under the new plan (see page 65 of the permit document.)

Listen to Brian Richter of The Nature Conservancy, who worked with RWSA to develop the water plan, on giving preference to the Moormans and Mechums Rivers at the expense of the Rivanna River. This was a talk given in March of 2010 in Charlottesville.

Downstream of the intake pipe, the Rivanna River passes by three city/county parks: Darden Towe, Pen Park, and Riverview Park.

Note: In a RWSA meeting on April 18. 2005, Joseph Hassell of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality remarked that

"..the amount of water needed to meet the future projected demand was 20 million gallons per day (MGD). By staying within your own watershed, meeting the projected demand would place a stress on that system. For example, the area had already experienced the drying up of the Moormans River and could expect a similar experience with the SFRR."

Read about Rivanna River History
in a publication from the Rivanna Conservation Society website