Despite rain, mandatory water restrictions loom

By Matt Butner - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Lake Chesdin is the largest water source for most of Chesterfield County and the Tri-Cities. Right now, the water is in short supply. As of Friday morning, the lake was 55 inches below full.

Two things combine to reduce the levels in the lake: low flow in the Appomattox River, and high demand. Because of the hot, dry summer we've had, demand has reached record levels, and it all started in the spring.

"April was probably the first dry month we had this year, and it was the highest April we've had in the past 12 years in water sales," said James Dawson, Executive Director of the Appomattox River Water Authority.

The summer months have seen more of the same.

Recent heavy rains may have only delayed the inevitable. The level of Lake Chesdin has held steady for three straight days, but it still may be just a matter of time before mandatory water restrictions take effect.

"Some time in maybe the third week of August, if we don't get a significant amount of rainfall between now and then," said Dawson.

In the meantime, officials are urging restraint in lawn watering and car washing, saying that could also help keep water levels up.

"The longer we can stay out of there, the longer we can keep out of the fines and penalties," Dawson said.

If Lake Chesdin drops by another 16 inches, those mandatory restrictions will become a reality.

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