There are some simple ways to help the Rivanna, but the most efficient method may be installing a Rooftop Runoff Collection System. According to the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District, an average of 34,300 gallons of rain falls on a 30′ x 40′ roof in Central Virginia each year. That could potentially provide enough water for 4,287 showers; or 686 loads of laundry; or 6,860 flushes of a commode; or 45 one-inch-deep waterings of a typical lawn. In other words, a lot of water.
Installing a system is as easy as placing rain barrels below gutters to collect the water for all sorts of uses. Think of it as recycling the rain. Most importantly, it catches the water that cascades off the impervious roof, saving the river of some of the gunk a storm generates.
In addition, on April 5, Albemarle County announced a cost-share program for stream buffer planting that will reimburse qualifying property owners for half of the cost of new riparian plantings on their property, including materials and labor. It is available to any property owner of nonagricultural riparian land within impaired watersheds in the county. The program is funded entirely through a Water Quality Improvement Grant from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. It totals $140,000, which the county received in 2006, and requires no local dollars.