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September 21, 2010

Charlottesville City Council unanimously approves a new water plan proposal

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By Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Charlottesville City Council has unanimously approved a revised community water supply plan proposal that emphasizes phased construction of a new or refurbished Ragged Mountain Dam (with an initial water level height increase of 13 feet and a larger foundation that would support up to a 42 foot increase in water level), extensive and ongoing dredging of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir, a new pipeline connecting Ragged Mountain to South Fork, and aggressive water conservation efforts. The public hearing had 59 speakers and lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Listen to a podcast of just council's deliberations using player above
or download the podcast here
: Download 20100920-CityCouncil-water

Council is expected to share their plan (see resolution below) at a scheduled meeting of the "Four Boards" later today (Sept 21, 3 PM at the Albemarle County Office Building South - Fifth Street).  The Four Boards with authority over water supply matters are City Council, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority, and the Albemarle County Service Authority.

Charlottesville City Council unanimously approved the following resolution at their meeting on September 20, 2010.  The key modifications agreed to by Council have been underlined by Charlottesville Tomorrow for clarity. 

Download Update 9/30/2010: The text below is what was read verbatim by Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris prior to the vote except where noted in [square brackets].  The official approved resolution has now been made available and is available for download here.


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council for the City of Charlottesville that the Council hereby readopts and reaffirms its prior June 2, 2008 approval of the local Water Supply Plan, with the following components and modifications:

  • To aggressively promote conservation of water and reduction in leakage in the next 20-40 year period;
  • To conduct [restorative] hydraulic dredging of [at least segments 1-3 of] the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir as identified in the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir Dredging Feasibility Study and to conduct continuous maintenance [through] hydraulic dredging of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir—RWSA shall seek a separate state permit for these activities;
  • Commit to adequate water flow to the Moormans River and South Fork Rivanna River as expressed in the joint permit application for the water supply plan;
  • Maintain the pipeline from Sugar Hollow Reservoir to the Ragged Mountain Reservoir in the event of a failure in the water transmission system;
  • Permit a dam with a height of up to 42 feet by adding additional feet to the existing dam or by constructing a new dam up to a height of 42 feet.  In case the existing dam is built upon, improvements, repairs, and modifications to the existing spillway structure will be constructed to bring the dam into compliance with all applicable dam safety laws and regulations.  The construction is to be done in phases with the first phase being constructed to 13 feet in height and construction to an additional 29 feet as needed to meet adequate water supply needs.  The filling of the dam will be done in phases as water is needed.
  • A new 36 inch transmission pipeline from the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir to the expanded Ragged Mountain Reservoir, which pipeline will replace the 18 inch pipeline from the Sugar Hollow Reservoir, constructed in 1927;
  • The complete replacement of the piping and pumping transmission system between the Ragged Mountain Reservoir and the Observatory Water Treatment Plant, which will replace the two cast iron pipelines constructed in 1908 and 1949 and the very aged Royal Pump Station;
  • A major overhaul of the Observatory Water Treatment Plant to advance public health by providing state-of-the-art facilities that will increase the Plant’s rating to 8 million gallons per day;
  • The expansion of the capacity of the South Fork Rivanna Water Treatment Plant to 16 million gallons per day; and,
  • The expansion of the capacity of the Observatory Water Treatment Plant to 10 million gallons per day; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the construction of the improvements contemplated by this water supply plan is contingent on the approval by City Council of a cost allocation agreement for each component of the plan between the City, the Albemarle County Service Authority and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority, and City Council’s approval of any agreement required for the use and / or conveyance of City-owned assets.

The City of Charlottesville will be credited with the sale price of trees cut and sold due to development of dam and additional water impoundment.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all prior resolutions and actions taken by City Council approving the components of the local water supply plan that are inconsistent with this resolution are hereby superseded by and replaced with the provisions of this resolution.

The Clerk of Council is directed to send a certified copy of this Resolution to the respective Chairs of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, the Albemarle County Service Authority Board of Directors and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority Board of Directors.

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