Despite a dry fall, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority is not asking for voluntary water restrictions to be implemented in Charlottesville and Albemarle County at this time.
Earlier this month, Gov. Ralph Northam declared a statewide drought watch advisory aimed at increasing awareness and preparation due to the lack of rain.
But authority staff said at the RWSA board’s Tuesday meeting that recent rains have brought the current status of the region’s drought indicators back up to normal.
“We suggest we continue to monitor,” said Bill Mawyer, RWSA’s executive director. “The plan says that we would come to this board and ask for authority to notify the city and the county to implement voluntary water restrictions, but we are not thinking that’s necessary right now.”
The Regional Drought Response and Contingency Plan
RWSA looks to the information from the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, declarations by the governor, weather forecasts, hydrologic models for the area’s watershed and streamflow data when making decisions about how to respond to droughts.
Jennifer Whitaker, RWSA’s director of engineering and maintenance, said there was about an inch of rain in the area on Oct. 16, that there was about two to two and a half inches of rain on Sunday and about a half an inch of rain predicted for Tuesday. There was also rain predicted for the weekend and next week.
She said the urban area reservoirs were at around 91% full last week and are about 92% full now.
“Last week we had water just dribbling over the [South Fork Rivanna Reservoir] dam, where as two days ago we had almost a foot of water going over the dam,” she said.
The hydrologic watershed model predicted last week that there was a 2% chance that the urban area reservoirs would be below 75% full in the next 12 weeks.
When the model projects that there’s a 20% or higher chance reservoirs would be below 75% full in the next 12 weeks, it sets off a drought watch.
Mawyer said staff would report back to the board in November with updates.