Town of Culpeper Water Supply Reaches First Drought Stage
Photo Courtesy of visitculpeperva.com
Town of Culpeper News Release
While falling short of calling for voluntary water restrictions, town officials want to alert water customers that lake levels are dropping and some kind of water restrictions may be implemented in the future, if the area doesn't get significant rain fall.
"Currently Lake Pelham is 18.5 inches below the spillway, which represents a Stage 1 drought level," said Town Operations Manager Chris Hively. "Stage 1 is a trigger to mention the possibility of voluntary restrictions to the public per the adopted water restriction grid."
Lake Pelham, the town's primary reservoir, dropped about 1.5 inches per week throughout the month of August.
"At this rate we will reach Stage 2 – 24 inches below spillway – by the end of the month," said Hively.
Stage 2 results in voluntary water restrictions. If the rate of drop continues and area receives little or no significant rainfall, Stage 3, or 30 inches below the spillway, will cause officials to call for mandatory restrictions.
The grid was developed in 2007 when the area suffered a major drought. Since then, the town has repaired the Mountain Run Dam gate valve, which is 14 feet below the lake's overflow. That repair work has allowed the town to maintain a higher level in Mountain Run Lake as a reserve water source. Currently, Mountain Run Lake's water level is only two inches below the overflow.
If needed, water can be drained from Mountain Run Lake into Lake Pelham to increase the water level in the reservoir.
"We are currently holding all water in Mountain Run Lake due to its surface area being less than Lake Pelham, resulting in less water loss due to evaporation," said Hively.
Several factors can affect a change in the rate of water level in Lake Pelham. Rainfall, river and groundwater inflow, evaporation due to temperature, reduced lake volume as the lake level drops, and usage stand as contributing factors for water levels.
Town officials are monitoring water levels and will issue any water restriction notices as necessary. However, it wouldn't hurt to limit unnecessary water usage when possible.