On May 21, 2007, the Board of the

Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority

(RWSA) held their monthly meeting and reviewed several items related to the FY 2008 budget and the community’s

50-year water supply plan

.  RWSA has two customers, the Albemarle County Service Authority and the City of Charlottesville.


During the budget discussions, staff informed the Board that

Dominion Virginia Power had passed along a rate increase of 12.9%

for each of the next three years in its contract with RWSA.  Staff recommended against making adjustments in the proposed FY 2008 budget and that the Board keep a close eye on these expenses in the next fiscal year.  The operations impacted by the rate increase today have annual utility expenditures budgeted for $1.1 million.  The rate increase would add about $145,000 in additional costs during FY 2008.  The budget was approved unanimously.


The Board heard recommendations from staff on the sequencing of infrastructure upgrades related to the 50-year water supply plan.  The plan calls for construction of a new larger dam at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir, upgraded treatment facilities at Observatory Hill, the construction of a pipeline between Ragged Mountain and the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir, and the abandonment of a 100 year old pipeline running from Sugar Hollow to Ragged Mountain (this pipeline fills Ragged Mountain, but prevents some water from reaching the Moormans River).

The Board began with a report on the ongoing discussions between the authority and The Nature Conservancy about how in-stream flows could be improved below the Sugar Hollow Dam (Moormans River) and the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir.

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RWSA Executive Director, Tom Frederick, said, “We’ve got an opportunity to be number one, perhaps in the world in terms of coming up with a strategy for how to utilize a stream for both human needs and for nature’s needs.”  The goal is to have in-stream flows mimic their natural state (what existed before the reservoirs were built) while balancing the community’s water supply needs, particularly during times of drought. According to the staff report, RWSA intends to leverage the expertise and ideas from The Nature Conservancy to “rewrite ‘the book’ on how releases from reservoirs throughout Virginia and the nation are regulated in the future.”  The Board authorized Mr. Frederick to move forward with the stream flow proposals.

Next, the Board was introduced to the specifics of the phasing proposal for the $130 million 50-year water supply plan.  The key recommendation is to start by building the new 112′ Ragged Mountain Dam all at once (below the existing dam and 45′ higher).  Building the dam in multiple phases would generate $3 million in additional costs.

The proposal given to the Board for consideration was as follows:

The RWSA Board asked Mr. Frederick to schedule a public hearing during Summer 2007 so that they could finalize a phasing and financing plan at their August 2007 meeting.

Brian Wheeler


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