Officials Place Charlottesville Area Under Drought Warning

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South Fork Rivanna Reservoir (FILE IMAGE) South Fork Rivanna Reservoir (FILE IMAGE)
Meeting of the RWSA Board of Directors Meeting of the RWSA Board of Directors
Rich Gullick Rich Gullick
Bill Mawyer Bill Mawyer

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) is declaring a drought warning for the Charlottesville-Albemarle County area.

Mandatory water restrictions are in effect starting Thursday, October 5.

"Fountains can't be operated. You can't wash the outside of your house or driveway, or parking lot. You can't wash your car unless it's through a licensed car wash," RWSA Director of Operations Rich Gullick said.

Charlottesville had been on a drought watch since Tuesday, October 3, but the water levels at the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir are continuing to quickly decline.

"Over the past two weeks we've had a significant drop in the water level of the Rivanna Reservoir. We think it's appropriate to try to save every gallon there that we can," RWSA Executive Director Bill Mawyer said.

Out of the four reservoirs that run in Albemarle County, South Fork Rivanna Reservoir is the least full at only 40-percent capacity

"We need to regain 600,000,000 gallons in the reservoir to fill it," said Mawyer.

"Given the situation with the levels in the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir right now we need to save water as much as possible until the situation is remedied," said Gullick.

The Town of Orange issued water restrictions Wednesday, October 4. People served by the town’s water treatment facilities are facing similar rules, such as being prohibited from washing any outdoor surface, and limitations on how much they can water plants.

"We'll be watching the storm next week to see how much it does help, but we didn't want to wait another five, six, seven days," Mawyer said.

"Follow the restrictions. They're for everyone and they shouldn't be very painful at all, and hopefully we'll be back out of it as soon as possible," Gullick said.