Louisa County Looks to James River to Support Development
LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Louisa County is about to get a slew of new restaurants, a grocery store and hundreds of apartments, but it comes with a few concerns over infrastructure, specifically one commodity that flows throughout the area. The Louisa County Board of Supervisors approved the project Monday night.
In order to make room for all of these businesses and stores long term, the county needs to find another water source. The Louisa County Board of Supervisors hopes to pull water from the James River to accommodate new development.
“You have a limited amount of water that you're permitted to pull from these wells based on the health department. You've got a limited amount of water you're allowed to pull out of the James River too,” said Troy Wade, Louisa County Board of Supervisors member.
Right now, the county pulls most of its water from wells, but that will not sustain the area's long-term growth.
“There is a point in time if we don't get additional sources of water where we'll reach the capacity that we're comfortable taking out of those wells and that's why we're taking measures to find additional sources,” said Wade.
Additional sources like the proposed water pump station in the point of forks area. Without it, the county could reach its maximum water withdrawal capacity by 2023, if the max daily demand is met.
“It's basically a building structure and it's an intake structure in the water that's completely buried,” said Wade. “We've had a delay with dealing with the Monacan Indian tribe and we look forward to working with them and coming to a solution that we all agree on.”
The James River Water Authority submitted a permit request for the pump station to the Army Corps of Engineers in May 2018. It's been delayed because of the site's historical categorization.
“I should say very confident, that the James River - it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when,” said Robert Babyok, Louisa County Board of Supervisors member for the Green Springs District.
Louisa County is moving forward with development plans, hoping the James River Water Project is approved before thousands of taps turn on in the years to come. Administrators said that water would help support a huge economic boom for the entire area.
“We now are going generate all that sales tax revenue that we're missing now plus the taxes that are incurred by all the businesses that are going to be here,” said Babyok.
“We need a solid diversified tax base. We've got a really good strong economy right now but there's no telling how long that's going to last,” said Wade.
The James River Water Authority is working with several state and federal agencies, along with the Monacan Tribe, to get permit approval from the Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps of Engineers actually has a meeting with some of those groups set for later in the week. Once that permit is approved, it'll be at least a year before water is flowing from the James.