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Water Conservation Requested as Area Drinking Water Reservoir Levels Decline

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South Fork Reservoir South Fork Reservoir

Some dry weather and warm temperatures have put Charlottesville and Albemarle County in a drought watch.

While drinking supplies are okay, some organizations are urging people to use some conservation techniques.

The Albemarle County Service Authority has seen the reservoir levels steadily declining over time, these reservoirs are critical because they are used for public drinking water in the city and the county.

The ACSA says overall reservoirs are at about 75 percent full. It says normally at this time of year the area sees a storm that replenishes water levels but that hasn't happened yet.    

The fullest is the Ragged Mountain Reservoir, which was recently rebuilt to hold about double the amount of water originally there. The service authority's biggest concern is with the South Fork Reservoir which is down about six feet.

"If you go out and look at it  you'll see spots of where there is mud flats almost to where the water has receded so that’s what we are most concerned about,” Gary O’Connell of ACSA said.

While drinking water supplies are okay right now, the service authority is asking people to voluntarily water their lawns and gardens only from 9 p.m. to 10 a.m. and only when needed.

The reason the ACSA is asking people to restrict water usage now is to prevent the city and county from going into a drought warning. It says it will try to use more water from the Ragged Mountain Reservoir for the time being.

Albemarle County Service Authority Press Release:

Charlottesville, VA — October 3, 2017 — The City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County Service Authority and Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority have declared a drought watch stage.

Weeks of dry weather have resulted in lower than normal river and reservoir levels and request area residents to restrict outdoor water usage. 

“Our public drinking water supply is still robust, but declining South Fork Rivanna Reservoir water levels over the past week compel us to issue these voluntary water restrictions,” says RWSA Executive Director Bill Mawyer. 

Lauren Hildebrand, Director of Utilities for the City of Charlottesville adds: “Because outdoor watering has a significant effect on water supply levels, we urge our City and ACSA customers to water vegetation only at night and only as necessary to keep vegetation from dying.” 

This request to restrict water usage is voluntary. “If we see water use decline and if it rains in the near future, we may be able to avoid mandatory water restrictions,” says ACSA Executive Director Gary O’Connell. “While water conservation is always important, at this time we encourage our customers to be particularly frugal in their water use. To sustain acceptable levels in the water supply, we are asking all our customers to limit watering of shrubbery, trees, lawns, grass, vegetable gardens, and other outdoor vegetation between 9:00 PM and 10:00 AM.”

Tips on Water Conservation are available on www.service authority.org, www.Charlottesville.org, and www.Rivanna.org.   

Contacts or Questions:

  • Lauren Hildebrand, City of Charlottesville Director of Utilities, 434-970-3800
  • Gary O’Connell, Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA) Executive Director, 434- 977-4511
  • Bill Mawyer, Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) Executive Director, 434-977-2970
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