Local water supplies in good shape

By Matt Butner - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You might have noticed a difference in the James River water level this summer. That's because it's much higher than it was last year at this time. And those water restrictions we've become accustomed to are nowhere to be found.

Swift Creek Reservoir is one of three sources of public water for Chesterfield County. At the moment, it looks like an ample supply.

"Right now the reservoir is about 11 inches below the overflow of our dam. Typically in August we see it down 18 inches below, so we're doing pretty good with this source water," said George Hayes, Chesterfield County Utilities.

The other two sources are looking good as well. The James River, which also supplies Richmond and Henrico, is flowing at a pace nearly double the rate at which water restrictions begin.  And Lake Chesdin is almost two feet higher than it was at this time last year. Meteorologist Andrew Freiden says the levels are up now because of events that happened months ago.

"We had a whole lot of rain in March, May and June, and we also had that big snowstorm. All those things add together to really soak in and the ground water got recharged pretty nicely," said Freiden.

As far as the next few months are concerned, it all depends on how much rain we get. The current hurricane season could help determine our water future.

"We think we want the hurricanes to stay away, but what we want is a nice dying tropical system or a few of them to drop a lot of moisture on us at a time when we really need it, at the end of a dry summer. As long as that happens, we'll probably be ok going into winter," said Freiden.

So for now, you can water your lawn with impunity - but don't get carried away. The water supply could dwindle at any time, so conservation is always key.

"We encourage them to water their lawns only 3 times a week, and fix any leaky toilets or fixtures.  Not only can they conserve water, they can save on their water bill as well," said Hayes.

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