Citizen Concerns about the 50-year plan
Alternatives to the 50-year plan
Common Myths about the Water Supply Plan

The 50-year Water Supply Plan:

Please note the information provided below was distilled from the 80-page permit document found on the RWSA website as well as other RWSA documents.

Commonly used acronyms:
RWSA = Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority
SFRR = South Fork Rivanna Reservoir
SHR = Sugar Hollow Reservoir
RMR = Ragged Mountain Reservoir
MGD = million gallons per day

How much water do we need?

Consultants working with RWSA conducted both a growth and demand analysis projecting out 20 and 50 years.

Current raw water demand averages 9-12 MGD.
By 2025 demand will rise to 14.5 MGD
By 2055 it is projected to reach 18.7 MGD.

According to the RWSA, a 50-year plan would need to provide an additional 9.9 MGD to satisfy growth. Most of the increased demand is population growth in Albemarle County. There will be some growth at UVA and demand in the City is projected to decline.

However, we believe this demand projection is TOO HIGH. Find out why.

The New Plan: 50-year water supply plan

The new 50-year water supply plan will replace a diversified system, with a single system of intake and storage. Most of the area’s drinking water will come from one source, a Rivanna River intake above the dam at the SFRR. (Up to 2 mgd may be drawn from the North Fork intake pipe.)
Water storage will be consolidated at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir (RMR). Pipeline access to the Sugar Hollow Reservoir (SHR) will be eliminated. The South Fork Rivanna Reservoir (SFRR) will be allowed to silt in. The current plan entails several major construction projects.

  • Construction of a new 112 foot dam at the Ragged Mountain Natural Area, which would be located below the existing dam, and will raise the reservoir by 45 feet. This rise in the pool level will increase storage at RMR from 514 MG to ~2,000 MG of stored water. One third of the new water is needed to compensate for the loss of storage capacity at the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir which will be allowed to silt in. In addition 180 acres of parkland at the Ragged Mountain Natural Area will be clearcut to complete the project. 135 acres of that land will be flooded.
  • Construction of a new nine mile long pipeline to connect the SFRR with the RMR. The existing pipeline that links the SHR directly to the water system will be eliminated.
  • Two new pumping stations at RMR and SFRR: A high lift pump will be needed to transfer water between SFRR and RMR as SFRR is significantly lower in elevation than RMR. A second pump will be installed at RMR to transfer water to the SFRR in times of drought.
  • A new raw water intake and low lift pump station at SFRR. This will be necessary to handle the doubling of daily demand on the South Fork Rivanna River intake as well as intake for the two billion gallons of water needed to fill the newly expanded Ragged Mountain Reservoir.
  • Construction of a new pre-treatment facility at the SFRR will be necessary to remove silt in the Rivanna River water before it is transferred to the RMR so not to contaminate the RMR, which does not currently have the sedimentation problems that the SFRR has.
  • Upgrade and expand the South Fork and the Observatory water treatment plants to handle the increased water demand.

How much does it cost?

The plan is estimated to cost nearly 200 million dollars. A cost share agreement between the city and county has not been worked out yet so there are no figures for how much water rates will rise.

The true costs are much higher.

RWSA's explanation of the Ragged Mountain Expansion Plan can be found on pp. 51-56 of the May 2006 Permit Document. To make it easier to get this information, Cvillewater.info has formatted pp 51-56 for the web or you can download the entire permit document directly.

Citizen Concerns about the 50-year plan