Drought Danger?

In September of 2002 (my Lord, has it been three years?), the drought left us fast running out of water. Cars were filthy, we weren’t much cleaner, lawns were brown and toilets were left unflushed.

Earlier this week, NBC 29 warned that we could be facing water restrictions soon if we don’t get some more rain. Today the RWSA warns that stream flow is down. ACSA reports that Sugar Hollow, Beaver Creek, South Rivanna, and Totier Creek are full, with Ragged Mountain is down 2.2%.

With nothing more than chances of scattered afternoon thunderstorms in the forecast, Are we headed towards a repeat? More important, are we any better prepared for a drought now than we were in 2002?

12 Responses to “Drought Danger?”


  • The biggest difference between ’02 and now is that we have started the planning process in earnest. As far as I can tell, everybody has resumed watering their lawns, washing cars, heck, flushing every time they use the bathroom! In addition, much of the current area’s residents were not living here in 2002, so they have no memory of the “if it’s brown, flush it down, if it’s yellow, let it mellow” signs in bathrooms.

    Pipeline or not, something has to be done to 1) encourage reasonable conservation measures and 2) have more capacity for the current and projected population of our region.

    The sad part of our region is that the general public does not pay attention to a crisis or potential crisis until it is too late. So long as the water comes out of the tap, most don’t seem to care.

    That the community has cvillenews.com to provide perspective and an historical record of sorts is outstanding.

  • That the community has cvillenews.com to provide perspective and an historical record of sorts is outstanding.

    Ah, but I only ran the story because of your comment on your blog.

  • Thank you! You have far more traffic and thus greater opportunity to influence/educate. The more people discussing this, the better.

  • More important, are we any better prepared for a drought now than we were in 2002?

    Yes we are more prepared. We know when they call for water conservation that we can pretty much ignore those requests because eventually they will hike water rates citing the success of said conservation measures. :D

  • Stevie Wonder saw this coming. The powers-that-be have done little to nothing to prepare for this eventuality. The reservoir hasn’t been dredged, the dam hasn’t been raised, housing is booming with no firm plans to do anything to improve the water infrastructure, and worst of all public education ended about the same time water rates were raised.

  • Unless I’m missing something, 4 of the 5 area reservoirs are AT capacity and the fifth is 97.8% full. That’s not exactly the kind of apocalyptic news that’s gonna make me run out and buy a couple of Al Gore’s low-flow toilets.

    Also, what besides “scattered afternoon thunderstorms” are you looking for in July? Monsoons?

    I gotta go wash my SUV. Calll me when the reservoir capacity is below 50%.

  • Dude, did you live here in 2002?

  • Sure I lived here in ’02. They wouldn’t bring you water with dinner unless you asked and the University Car Wash had that tanker of non-potable water out front. I think Sugar Hollow and Rivanna were as low as 50% full and there was legitimate cause for concern.

    But it’s rained pretty good for like 30 months and the aquafiers or water table thingy have to be pretty full still. It’s been a little dry for a couple of weeks. What’s the big deal? I don’t see any comparison between now and then.

    Scaring people with stories of impending doom can be fun, but it’s ususally done for profit, (e.g. professional “environmentalist” groups). I don’t see the angle here.

  • There’s no story of impending doom. No scare tactics. You’ve provided no new facts, just repeated what I wrote: the reservoirs are full, but we’re in a dry spell. It hasn’t been “a little dry for a couple of weeks,” as you write. We’ve gotten virtually no rain for many weeks, leaving us significantly short of where we need to be at, rainfall-wise, to maintain our water supply. I’m neither a meteorologist nor a psychic, so I can’t say whether that will be trouble.

    But that’s neither here nor there: the “important” question, as I wrote, is whether “we any better prepared for a drought now than we were in 2002.” I don’t claim we’re in a drought, nor that we’re heading for one. I want to know if all of the talk in the past few years about preventing future water shortages will result in a single extra day of water, or if it’s all still talk right now.

  • Look, all’s I’m sayin is that it seems a bit premature to start wondering whether we’re “headed towards a repeat” (of water restrictions, etc.) just because it’s a little dusty out. The reservoirs are full and the corn looks good and healthy to me.

    Sorry to be such a contrarian, but judging from the other replies you could use a little dissent in this echo chamber.

  • And my pumpkins are growing nicely and my lawn isn’t brown. I just wanna keep ’em that way. :)

  • The smaller rivers and streams are at below average levels, and have been since early spring. The James on the other hand is at normal flow rates.

    Disaster? Not unless you’re a kayaker/canoeist.

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