Water update: Dredging benefits overestimated by 50 percent, says report

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In a letter posted last year, Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan (CSWP) argued that dredging South Fork Rivanna Reservoir "would provide a safe yield of 15.5 mgd [million gallons per day] under current permitted stream flow conditions." However, a new analysis authorized by the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority (and posted by Charlottesville Tomorrow here) suggests that long-term dredging would put the safe yield at 10.3 mgd—a number 50 percent less than that cited in the CSWP letter.

A 2004 report by Gannett Fleming predicted an urban water demand of 18.7 mgd by 2055. The Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority recently posted an updated water demand forecast through 2060, and lowered the previous demand to 16.26 mgd. According to the new forecast, urban water consumption could exceed 10.3 mgd between now and 2015. (Current urban water use is just shy of 10 mgd.) CSWP previously stated that dredging alone "will satisfy the region’s water needs through at least 2040." Dredging has been advocated in place of and alongside construction of a new earthen dam at Ragged Mountain Reservoir, which could cost between $16 million and $20 million, and will begin no earlier than 2012

That depends, of course, on a number of factors, including the composition of the next City Council. Now, which candidate will be the first to wade into the water plan during tonight’s debate?

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