Council Votes for Dredging; Pipeline Loses

City Council has voted 5-0 in favor dredging the Rivanna Reservoir rather than building a pipeline, Hawes Spencer writes for The Hook. The vote was held just before midnight, after dozens of speakers—two to one in favor of dredging—expressed their support for one plan or another. The plan also includes increasing the height of the existing Ragged Mountain dam by thirteen feet.

This unanimous vote represents a pretty enormous turn-around for Council, which had been all about the pipeline just a few years ago, and did a 180° on this after a great deal of study and community input. This looks like a big victory for Mayor Dave Norris, who at least appears publicly to have been the guy who turned around opinion on what to do about our long-term water supply.

10:30 PM Update: City spokesman Ric Barrack points out that the pipeline is still in the plan, which is a pretty important correction. It’s just no longer the plan.

15 thoughts on “Council Votes for Dredging; Pipeline Loses”

  1. Waldo, from what I’ve read, the new pipeline from SFRR to RMD remains in the plan. The new “maintenance” of the Sugar Hollow pipeline clause is additional.

  2. I was also at the meeting and my sense was – Council recognized the community needs a plan that is flexible and does not burden the ratepayers with debt for new infrastructure that may never be needed. The plan they adopted has conservation and maintaining our available resources at it’s core, and only adding new infrastructure if our actual water use so dictates. Most importantly, it dictates, that we finally after 40 years of neglect, dredge the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir.

    We are required by the state to analyze our actual water use decade by decade, alongside our water supply . This approach is fiscally and environmentally responsible and will provide us with many decades of affordable, sufficient supply in times of even the most severe drought.

    Many wonder why, given the long spell of dry weather, we have no water restrictions. Our community has changed, we have been required by federal laws to adopt water saving devices when we build anew or retrofit our homes and businesses. This is just the beginning of a future of water saving technology, that visionaries like Oliver Kuttner, will bring forward to change the world as we know it.

    Congratulations Oliver, hope you will bid on the dredging our most valuable water resource, and a gem of our comminity, the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir.

  3. Kevin Lynch has been tirelessly pushing for the dredging plan for years. I’d give him at least as much credit as to Dave Norris, not to diminish Dave’s importance.

  4. Jack you are right I have read RWSA board minutes from 2002, where Kevin advocated for dredging as the water supply plan. He and others have worked hard to bring this about, but the county is determined to prevent dredging from being part of the water supply plan, no matter how economical, or how environmentally smart it could be.

    Today’s meeting was discouraging. Dave Norris came under tremendous pressure to build the dam at Ragged Mt. to more than the staged 13ft approach that Council voted on last night and not to include dredging as water supply.

    Unless we all support Council to continue with this staged approach, to not build what we do not need, to not pay for what we may never use, then the County will succeed in stopping dredging as part of the water supply plan, and force the ratepayers into an oversized, environmentally devasting dam at Ragged Mt.

    Thank Council for last nights vote, encourage them to make gains in water supply, obtained inexpensively thru dredging as part of the plan, and to not destroy Ragged Mt. with an expensive and unneeded new dam at Ragged Mt.

  5. I certainly hope Council doesn’t cave to pressure from the other boards. The county’s animosity towards dredging is ludicrous. Council came up with a fantastic plan last night that contained a lot of great options. Since it ensures adequate water for all, there’s no reason to not support it.

    Council must stick by their guns regarding the 13ft first phase. Building it to 30ft immediately is over-kill, and just shy of the 42ft dam that, in all likelihood, will not be needed in 50 years. Are we going to work smart as a community, or work stupid? Last night, Council worked (and planned) smart.

    Oliver Kuttner nailed it last night with his comment on the dangers of future creep. Only 10-20 years from now, we’re going to have developed and begun using incredible water-saving technology. At that point we’ll all look back on the County’s insistence on sticking with outmoded dinosaur methods and shake our heads.

  6. The City is also completely outnumbered on the Four Boards. More than twice as many people gave them a pummeling and they stood up to it. City residents should be proud and listen to the abuse they took if there is a tape of the meeting made available.

    The Four Boards have 6 members from the Albemarle County Service Authority, 6 members from the Board of Supervisors, and the Board of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority; that has 3 City representatives: Dave Norris, Judy Mueller, and Maurice Jones, and 3 County representatives Ken Boyd, Gary O’Connell, and Bob Tucker. The chair Mike Gaffney is clearly aligned with county interests. Tom Frederick the director of the water authority, who was asked many questions for guidance, is also aligned with county interests against the city. And presents all information in that light.

    So there were 15 people representing the County’s attempt to stop dredging for the water supply and to try to force the City to build a new 30 or higher ft. dam at Ragged Mt. and 7 people representing the City’s attempt to include dredging as part of the total water needed for the future of the community.

    It is also unclear if Judy Mueller, ( City Public Works Director), and Maurice Jones,( Acting City Manager) support the Norris Plan or are in favor of the county plan, not to dredge for water supply.

    The Four Boards is not a place to make a factually based decision that is in the best interest of water ratepayers.

  7. Ms. Mooney, are you available? You are amazing.

    Oft overlooked is why Charlottesville residents must be responsible for Albemarle’s growth at all? The water debate often focuses on how all residents (Albemarle and Charlottesville) must pay/plan for Albemarle’s water want.

    Albemarle funds an ‘arm-twister’ to be employed when Charlottesville rebels on growth issues — revenue sharing. For instance, when the Meadowcreek Parkway was jeopardized, an article was soon in the presses on Albemarle’s floundering commitment to revenue sharing. After the article, the growing rebellion on the council toward the parkway seemed to diminish.

  8. No need to worry concerned citizens. Nothing will come of this water issue. Sort of like the MCP. Let’s have a meeting, let’s debate, let’s have a public meeting, etc. etc. and nothing gets done. If and when anything ever gets done no one on this blog will live long enough to see anything done, but in the meantime lets have a meeting to debate the issues…..What a joke Norris and this city council are.

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