By Brian Wheeler

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Albemarle supervisors say they remain strongly behind the water supply

plan approved in 2006

, which includes a new dam at

Ragged Mountain

and a new pipeline connecting it to

South Fork Rivanna Reservoir


At their meeting Wednesday, Albemarle Supervisor

Dennis S. Rooker

said that new studies show dredging would neither provide sufficient water supply nor be cost effective.

Review Charlottesville Tomorrow’s

Water Supply Decision Matrix

, an evaluation of many of the key criteria local leaders will be reviewing as they finalize a decision on the 50-year water supply plan.

“It seems to me that we had a series of questions that were answered way back, and those questions have been answered again,” Rooker said. “We have now had three studies that indicate that the capacity needed over the next 50 years is pretty much the same in all three studies.

“The cost of dredging to create capacity is somewhere between four and six times the cost of building the Ragged Mountain Dam,” Rooker added.

On Tuesday, the

city released cost estimates by Black & Veatch

, an engineering firm hired by Charlottesville to evaluate repairing or building on top of the existing dam at Ragged Mountain. The most expensive project they evaluated was to raise the pool at Ragged Mountain by 45 feet, as called for in the 2006 plan. That project was estimated to cost between $15.8 million and $21.4 million, well below the one-time costs of dredging South Fork, which

HDR Engineering


in June

would be between $34 million and $40 million.

Charlottesville Mayor

Dave Norris

announced this week

that he preferred dredging at the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir to meet the community’s water supply needs.

“The studies that the city paid for, and was responsible for, have demonstrated there may be a viable alternative that will give us the water we need, be significantly less expensive than the current plan and lessen the negative environmental impacts,” Norris said in an interview.


Kenneth C. Boyd

said it was time for the

Albemarle County Service Authority

to share with the public its negotiating position with respect to cost-sharing between the city and county for the $142 million water plan.

“From what I know of that formula, most of the costs of this new dam is going to fall on the county and not on the ratepayers in the city,” Boyd said.

“That’s one of the pieces of misinformation that gets flouted around,” Rooker said. “That your rates are going to skyrocket if this plan is approved.”

ACSA Director

Gary O’Connell

responded that the cost-sharing formula would be a topic for his board’s consideration at a September meeting. O’Connell reminded the supervisors of work that had gone into recent water rate decisions and the five year capital budget.

“There’s no increase in a customer’s bill to support the water supply plan that’s there,” O’Connell said.

Charlottesville’s City Council is slated to hold a work session today on the water supply plan.


Interested in what we're working on next? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and never miss a story.