What You Can Do

Timeline for the Development of the Water Supply Plan

In 2002, City Council approved a plan to increase the public water supply by raising the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir by four feet. That plan was never implemented.

In 2003, after the severe drought of 2002, the projected volume of water storage capacity needed to satisfy “safe yield” was increased.

In 2004, an engineering study identified 32 possible alternatives for a new water supply, then narrowed those alternatives using federal/state environmental impact criteria to the final four called a “short list”.

In September 2004, a public meeting was organized to review five alternatives to increase the water supply and to get public feedback:

  1. Pipeline from the James River provides water directly to treatment plants.
  2. Ragged Mountain expansion to include reactivation of the Mechums Pump Station and replacement of the existing pipeline to the Sugar Hollow Reservoir.
  3. South Fork Rivanna Reservoir expansion with four foot crests.
  4. South Fork Rivanna River Dredging Alternative
  5. Beaver Creek Reservoir as a supplement to the Urban System.

In November 2004, a public meeting was held to discuss the option to

In December 2004, a public meeting was held to discuss the option of

In January 2005, a public meeting was held to discuss the

In January 2005, a public meeting was held to discuss

In February 2005, a public meeting was held to review all four options.

On March 3, 2005, a joint boards meeting with City Council, AC Board of Supervisors, and the boards of ACWSA and the RWSA, in which the four options as presented at the public meetings, were discussed. RWSA attorney Bill Ellis opines that the 2 options involving SFRR are unlikely to be approved by regulators.

March 7, 2005: SELC expresses concern about taking the 4-foot crest and dredging alternatives off the table. They express surprise at the legal opinion of Bill Ellis that these alternatives were unlikely to be approved because they spoke with DEQ after the meeting and DEQ said all alternatives were still viable. DEQ expressed surprise about what they read in the paper about the meeting.

MEMO from Tom Frederick
In early March 2005, the Authority’s legal counsel announced that the “four foot crest” was unlikely to be permitted by the federal government due to its environmental impacts. Counsel also announced that dredging could be considered “impracticable” due to its logistical uncertainties and potential costs when compared to the other alternatives. (see Alternatives Process, second paragraph)

In March 2005, according to a recent memo, the RWSA decided to look at the feasibility of building a new pipeline from the SFRR to supply the Ragged Mountain Reservoir instead of via the Sugar Hollow Reservoir - in order to overcome local objections centered on the Moormans River. To address concerns that the South Fork water quality is inferior to Sugar Hollow water, the Authority thought it prudent to pre-treat water from the South Fork Reservoir (with a NEW treatment plant) to remove nutrients and sediment before transferring through the new pipeline to the Ragged Mountain Reservoir. (see Ragged Mountain Focus)

In April 2005, in a private meeting between RWSA and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) the issue of building a pipeline between Ragged Mountain Reservoir and the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir was discussed. TNC agreed to contact several local organizations who had previously stated concerns about the Ragged Mountain alternative as a way of determining if by proposing the source of the new pipeline as South Fork, those earlier concerns would be remedied. (see Ragged Mountain Focus, second paragraph)

Despite these developments ....
On April 18, 2005, a public meeting was held with City Council, AC Board of Supervisors, ACSWA, RWSA, and 15 state and federal regulators. At this meeting, it was stated that the four options discussed in the public meetings throughout the previous year were still on the table as follows:

  1. Pipeline to the James River
  2. Raise the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir
  3. Dredge the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir
  4. Raise the Ragged Mt. Reservoir (by 13 feet and replace the Sugar Hollow pipeline.)

Top of page 4 in the Aug 18 minutes, "Mr. Gaffney reiterated that RWSA had not made a decision at this point on a preferred alternative and was still considering four “short-list” concepts as possibilities while seeking concurrence with CCC, AC BOS, and ACSA BOD." Building a pipeline between South Fork and Ragged Mountain was NOT one of the options.

In October 2005, a public meeting was held to announce the NEW concept of building a pipeline between SFRR and the RMR. The plan also called to decommission the Sugar Hollow pipeline cutting off access to the water reserves in the Sugar Hollow Reservoir.

At the next public meeting...
In April 2006, at the next public meeting, the RWSA announced the selection of their "preferred alternative" - Raise the Ragged Mountain Reservoir and build a new pipeline between RMR and the SFRR.

In May-June 2006, The project was approved by City Council (see below), Board of Supervisors, Albemarle County Water Authority, and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority.

On June 5, 2006, City Council approved the project despite an appeal from a city resident that the council should not give away so many city resources including parkland without a public hearing.

In August 2007, the RWSA Board authorized its Executive Director, Tom Frederick, to negotiate and execute a new contract with Gannett Fleming, Inc. for design and bid services for the construction of the new Ragged Mountain Dam.

In September 2007, a public meeting was held to disclose the cost of the "preferred alternative" to be 143 million dollars, of which 127 million was needed for the new RMR dam, the SFRR pipeline and infrastructure required for that, and upgrading the Observatory treatment plant to handle increased volume.

On November 19, 2007,the first public hearing since the planning process began was granted by City Council as requested by the Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan. Tom Frederick's pre-meeting information packet to Council was a counter attack on CSWP's concerns, rather than information on the water supply plan. Read more about the meeting in the minutes.
Listen to a podcast of the public hearing (scroll down about midway)

IN THE MEDIA: Read and hear what has happened since.