By Brian Wheeler

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Charlottesville Mayor

Dave Norris

said Tuesday that he will not support the construction of the new dam contemplated for the

Ragged Mountain Reservoir

as part of the community water supply plan approved in 2006. Norris said he favors first dredging of the

South Fork Rivanna Reservoir


“We don’t need a 45-foot dam anytime in the near or immediate future. We do need to fix our leaky pipes and take better care of our rivers and streams,” Norris said.

Download Black & Veatch’s

feasibility study


cost estimates

Norris shared his position while discussing the

cost estimates

released earlier in the day by

Black & Veatch

, an engineering firm hired by Charlottesville to evaluate repairing or building on top of the existing

Lower Ragged Mountain Dam

, which was built in 1908.

Black & Veatch reported that a 45-foot increase in the reservoir pool could be accomplished for between $15.8 million and $21.4 million — an amount, according to city officials, that is at least $9.6 million less than the projected cost to construct the all new earthen dam proposed in May.

The firm also reported that the existing dam could be raised 13 feet for a cost between $8.8 million and $12 million or just repaired for $5.5 million to $7.4 million.

HDR Engineering


in June

that a one-time, seven-year dredging project could be done at South Fork for about $34 million to $40 million. The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority has said that dredging produces only 13 percent of the water storage provided by a new dam.

Norris is the city’s elected official on the RWSA’s board of directors. His counterpart in Albemarle is Supervisor

Kenneth C. Boyd


“I have not fully read the [Black & Veatch] report, but we need not be short-sighted in our water planning,” Boyd said Tuesday. “It concerns me a lot that … they are in control of the county’s destiny, yet they are not the ones expected to grow. I don’t want to come up short because of short-sighted city councilors.”

Liz Palmer

serves on the

Albemarle County Service Authority’s

board and has been a vocal supporter of the water supply plan approved in 2006, which includes a new dam at Ragged Mountain and a new pipeline connecting it to South Fork.

“I am all for building something for less, if I am getting the same thing,” Palmer said Tuesday. “As long as the volume is the same, I don’t care how you do it. I want to know it is as safe and will last as long [as an earthen dam]. From this study by Black & Veatch, there is not enough information to determine that.”

The City Council will review the water plan at a

special work session at noon Thursday

at the new Charlottesville Area Transit building on Avon Street. A public hearing on the next steps for the water plan is expected to be held Sept. 20 at the council’s regular meeting.

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Charlottesville Tomorrow

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