Drought status? RWSA might reconsider

Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority executive director Tom Frederick tells the Hook this morning that the recent rain– up to two inches thus far in the current storm– has raised water levels between four and 12 inches in all but one local reservoir and that his organization will determine "late Monday or early Tuesday" whether to lift the drought warning that's been in place since August 15.

"The Sugar Hollow Reservoir is down 15 feet below full, and that's the one we're watching most closely because it's the slowest to fill," he said at 11:15am, "but that could change in the next two to three hours with a storm cell to the south moving across."

Also on the upside of things Frederick says that recent demand has driven down the daily demand. "Over the last week, the average demand has been 9.8 million gallons [down from 10.1 million], and over the last two days it's been 9.4 million," he says. "We believe that comes from the fact that people aren't watering their lawns and plants when it's raining."

Frederick declined to speculate about what he'll decide early next week, saying, "We want to make these decisions with the benefit of hindsight, and not guess while we're in the middle of a storm."

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4 comments

A leader that plans to make decisions based on hindsight?

"A storm cell" as a determining factor?

Tom Frederick is Tom Rhetoric. I think he sounds like Gomer Pyle, have you ever heard him speak? If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, then its a duck. This duck quacks ignorace.

In 2002, as a subordinate to Mike Gaffney (Chairman of R.W.S.A. and a developer) Frederic urged us to conserve and spoke of The Authorities goals and priorities.

In 2007 the Rhetoric continues. In the interim, Gaffney has built and connected to the water-line several dozen new homes.

Nothing has been done to increase supply. Even existing infrastructure has not been optimized....the South Fork reservoir has greatly diminished capacity due to silt. This is a maintenance issue...dredge the reservoir.

OK so Frederick has got the message out to conserve, and millions of gallons are being conserved. But do the math, 10.1 million gallons per day down to 9.4 - 9.8 million gallons per day. Fair enough, pat on back. BUT what about 5 years from now, with new development. If we continue down this path, Frederick will be trying to get us from 12 million gallons per day down to 9.4 million gallons per day. That won't happen.

I don't thing Frederic will be in Charlottesville in 5 years, I predict he will be run out of town.

I say the sooner the better, time for leadership that anticipates, versus seeking hindsight. Time for leadership that meets customer demand. Get rid of Gaffney and Frederick ASAP. No more deferred maintenance, and leadership by consensus and hindsight. A few good executives with business experiece are needed now.

I second on Kleeman!

For starters, Kleeman suggestst the mayor should be a full time position, not a hobby.

Charlottesville is important enough that the position of mayor deserves a full time person.

That may help with "tangents" like the bottled water thing.

"I say the sooner the better, time for leadership that anticipates, versus seeking hindsight." Right on Vic!!

So true, so true. While I'll agree that leadership of R.W.S.A. seems to be a problem, the area is sadly in need of leadership in general. County approval of Biscuit Run demonstrates a real lack of foresight there and things in the CIty are as bad or worse.

The night the City Council adopted its most recent comprehensive plan, the mayor went off on a tangent to suggest banning bottled water sales rather than getting to work on the environmental initiatives the plan outlined. The mayor sets the council agenda. With someone that clueless in control, don't expect a solution to anything as difficult as solving regional water problems.

Council candidate and blogger Peter Kleeman makes an excellent point about the city's leadership vacuum regarding the Meadowcreek Parkway here http://tinyurl.com/2z2gob but I guess since he's hoping to be working with them, he can't go around saying that the area has a leadership vacuum when it comes to almost any important issue.

The problems with the water supply were here long before Frederic. The decision on what to do has been made. The decision on how to pay for it hasn't. Talk to BoS and Council about that, since they will be the ones making that decision, not Frederic, who is merely an employee.
No, Charlottesville is not important enough to have a full time paid Mayor who can be any drunk of the street that is popular enough to be elected. We are smart enough to leave the day-to-day management of this $135 million budget to professionals using the City Manager form of government.