Record water use leads to warning

The chief of the Rivanna Water and Sewer authority told reporters yesterday that water use is spiking amid low rainfall conditions and that residents should voluntarily conserve or soon face the possibility of mandatory restrictions a la the summer of 2002.

RWSA Executive Director Tom Frederick, who has long warned that 2006 is droughty, says he'd like to see the daily water use fall to about 12.5 million gallons. That isn't happening, however. He told WINA and the television newsplex that we set a dubious record on Wednesday: 14.1 million gallons used.

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8 comments

A lot of us are missing the obvious when we hear that RWSA is warning us about water shortages...again. Yes these last couple weeks have dropped water supply, but the
prevalent cause is a leadership drought.
The housing growth is creating a serious demand on the water supply...infrastructure etc.
The real problem we, the voters, are missing is that all of these socialized costs induced
by poor civil leadership is to our own pocketbooks.
Each time we are told that growth is good, we need to ask
1. for whom, and
2. who pays
and there is the problem, we are subsidizing development for a few developers and tax collectors with our money that could be used for the kids college, the retirement nest egg,
the Caribbean cruise, bar bill, etc.
We are misdirected by the local politicians and their civil service cadre into a framework
that seems to indicate that the development is good...all good, while ignoring the costs to
all of us.
Yes, the water problem is indeed a symptom...a symptom of ineptitude by government
officials and the voters who are uninformed and apathetic.

birth-control, folks...

Four years ago we had a drought. Since then, no action on increasing the water supply, only studies and task forces. Dredging the reservoir will supposedly increase its capacity considerably, yet nothing is done - presumably because it's either too expensive or they can't figure out where to put the dirt (!).

Can anybody calculate the projected daily water usage from the new shopping centers that are being approved at a record pace? Yet soon the police will be on the lookout for residents watering their tomatoes.

If we enter drought conditions again, maybe it's time for citizens to rebel and demand completely new and COMPETENT management of our water resources. Toss the well-meaning (and undoubtedly "hard-working") idiots and the politicians who appointed and enabled them. This problem will need to be solved from the bottom up, because it damn sure isn't being solved from the top down.

I went to a RWSA public hearing on the water situation in 2001 where they plainly spelled out the dire situation we were all in. Almost no one attended and I didn't read a thing about it in the news.

The problem isn't the people on the board - they are doing everything they can. The problem is 2 fold: 1) this issue wasn't getting the news coverage it should have before it came to a crisis point and 2) there hasn't been and isn't now the political will out there to make the hard decisions. Like most infrastructure issues in the country, attention and funding is only given AFTER a crisis. And even then the public attention is short and implementation putters out.

I agree with the first poster: while development proceeds at an appalling pace, creating concomitant demands on public services and infrastructure, local officials rubberstamp virtually every single residential or commercial project and the influx of humanity continues.

There is so much exposed red, Virginia clay in Albemarle County as to suggest the very surface of Mars.

Oust City Council and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors - ridding the community of these collective dingdongs will be a great first step in reigning in demand in line with available resources.

I'm tired of hearing public statements from the RSWA that we should start "voluntarily" conserving water everytime things start to get a bit dry. First- I PAY a water bill and I get billed at least a minimum amount regardless of whether or not I use any water that month. Now if the RSWA wants to stop charging me that minimum amount then only at that point will I consider water conservation.

Further the RSWA is hoping and praying for another drought so they have an excuse to raise water rates again, and that's really all their scare tactics are about. In the event of a real drought I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be participating in conservation measures (but then I've never had water wastefull practices to start with).

As for RSWA appointments as one of the other posters here mentioned. The County and City both get only ONE seat that they "JOINTLY" pick a candidate for. And guess who they picked- Gaffney a DEVELOPER. Isn't that about like putting the Fox in charge of the hen house? That should tell you exactly what the priorities of both the city and county governments truly are- development, development, and more development (contrary to what they publically state).

The reason they haven't dredged is that they decided it was too expensive, and as an individual option wouldn't provide enough of the extra water they expected the area to need over the next X-number of years. I went to one of the meetings last year when they were trying to PUSH the james river pipeline option. And the basic misdirection they use is that they take the drought numbers for the worst drought on record (whichever that last one was) and use that water level/condition as the basis for their supply numbers.

They imagine that drought water level every year for the next x-number of years- without taking into consideration the years inbetween when we've got plenty of water and no drought. It assumes that last drought condition every year over the next 50 or so years with the same amount development we've got going. So of course it's going to look like we will run out of water. But it's as I've said- Misdirection.

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_-this has been a rant by TrvlnMn-_

Follow the money. It will tell you everything you need to know. That government is corrupt and self interested should come as no surprise to anyone. The water problem is just a symptom.

It's a little wrong to say that RWSA has done NOTHING... wasn't there a huge announcement earlier this year about expanding ragged mountain and building a pipeline to south fork? have any of you been paying attention?

Not to say development isn't going crazy rampant. But it's easy to make broad complaints that nothing's going on when you're uninformed. At least there's a huge effort underway.