Residents claim mismanagement of Lake Chesdin

By Melissa Correa - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – As mandatory water restrictions begin today in Chesterfield County, water levels at Lake Chesdin continue to drop. A majority of the water is gone.

For more than a month, boaters have been unable to access the water that remains. People living there wish restrictions were in place sooner. They're now reaching out to Governor Bob McDonnell for help.

Along Lake Chesdin people can see the problem. They say it's a result of mismanagement of the reservoir. So they sent a letter to the governor asking for help.

The remnants of Whippernock Creek can be seen and water should be flowing into Lake Chesdin.

"Where the brown is, that's where the water's supposed to be.  It's a little trickle under the bridge," said Barbara Williams, who owns a marina near on the lake.

As people worry about their yards, Williams worries her marina may go under.

"I don't think people in Richmond have any idea how dire a need we have here In Lake Chesdin.  It's awful.  It's pitiful," she said.

In the 37 years she's been open for business she's never seen the bottom of the creek.  It's now so dry, the dirt is cracked.

"No water.  No people. I have my swimming area over there.  No water.  No people," she said.

Mandatory water restrictions are now in place in Chesterfield.  Lake Chesdin supplies nearly half of the county's water.

"They should have had them on there three months ago in order to help us," Williams said.

Both the Appomattox Regional Water Authority and Chesterfield County stand by their decision on water restrictions.  They say they're trying to balance the resources with the community's needs.

Chesterfield has three water sources.  People in the area feel like Lake Chesdin is being taken advantage of.  But the county says it's not using one source over another.

Across the lake in Dinwiddie County, Carol Hege worries for the wildlife and fish that used to dominate the now desert-like area.

"You should never let a natural resource like this, get this low," she said.

Both Carol and Barbara refuse to water their lawns. They say people should do the same.

"They can do without their green lawns for a little while.  We need the water back in the lake," Williams said.

The director of the Appomattox Regional Water Authority said he hasn't yet seen the letter sent to the governor. He added that if conditions don't improve at Lake Chesdin, it may be necessary to recommend even tighter water restrictions.

Those tighter restrictions could include using water only for sanitary purposes and may only be two weeks away. While Chesterfield County has put mandatory water restrictions in place before, the director of utilities says he doesn't remember it being this bad.

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