The task force charged with making recommendations on the future of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir will meet

one last time on Monday, January 26

to finalize its report. Since the group’s

last meeting in December

, different factions of the task force have appeared on local airwaves to make their case.

On January 16, 2009, Dede Smith appeared on WINA’s Charlottesville Live program to argue that the task force has not focused enough on increasing the water storage capacity at the reservoir. Smith represents the group Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan on the task force.

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“The fact that we would throw away a resource as valuable as the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir as a water storage facility is just unsustainable,” Smith said. The reservoir, however, remains an important component of the adopted water supply plan, even with continued sedimentation reducing its capacity.

Smith was joined by Tom Olivier of the Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club has issued a statement requesting that the task force recommend dredging be expand the reservoir’s storage capacity. Oliver’s wife Wren is a member of the task force. Both Smith and Olivier are opposed to any emphasis on dredging for recreational access rather than to restore water supply capacity.

On January 20, 2009, two other members of the task force had the chance to rebut Smith and Olivier. Albemarle County Supervisor Sally Thomas (Samuel Miller) is the Chair of the South Fork Reservoir Stewardship Task Force and Liz Palmer represents the Samuel Miller District on the Albemarle County Service Authority’s Board of Directors.

Thomas said the task force is considering recreation as a reason to dredge because of the many people who fish and row at the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir. She added that dredging the reservoir to the original capacity it had in 1967 would not provide enough storage to meet the community’s projected water demand in 2055.

Thomas said when chairs of the four boards with jurisdiction over the water supply plan created the Task Force, they instructed the group to assume the adopted plan would go forward.

“Some members of the task force don’t accept that part of the charge, and would like us to do something outside our charge,” Thomas said. “We can’t revisit the Ragged Mountain Plan and people who want to revisit it, this simply isn’t the means for doing that.”

Thomas is editing the report, and the task force is expected to vote on it this Monday. After the report is issued, it will be forwarded on to the chairs of the four boards with jurisdiction over the water supply.

Charlottesville Tomorrow’s recording of Charlottesville-Live is made with permission from WINA.

Sean Tubbs


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Charlottesville Tomorrow

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