Appomattox River Water Authority addressing Lake Chesin water restrictions

Press release from Board of Appomattox River Water Authority:

The Board of the Appomattox River Water Authority (ARWA) convened a special meeting on October 7, 2010, and made several findings and approved three initial actions to address the problems and concerns arising from the abnormally low water levels in Lake Chesdin and the emergency water restrictions imposed upon the residents and businesses in ARWA's five member jurisdictions (the Cities of Colonial Heights and Petersburg and the Counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George), including the problems and concerns expressed to the ARWA Board at a special meeting convened on September 30.

The ARWA Board determined that the prudent management of the valuable regional asset that is Lake Chesdin requires a balancing between and among three priorities (collectively, the Management Priorities), which are (i) the preservation and enhancement of a reliable source of high-quality treated water to meet the current and future needs of the residents and businesses of the ARWA member jurisdictions, (ii) the protection of the environmental health of Lake Chesdin and, and (iii) the protection of the environmental health of the six-mile non-tidal stream reach of the Appomattox River below the Brasfield Dam.

The ARWA Board then approved the following initial steps:

  1. A direction to the ARWA Executive Director to proceed with the installation of an additional flow gauge on the Appomattox River immediately above Lake Chesdin to enable ARWA to more precisely match the flows into the lake with the required releases from the lake.
  2. The undertaking of an independent audit of the management of Lake Chesdin from January 1, 2007, to the present, which management audit will, among other things, (i) recommend changes in the management and operation of Lake Chesdin necessary or beneficial to achieve a better balance of the Management Priorities, (ii) assess the effectiveness of ARWA's drought response plan, and (iii) assess ARWA's communications practices and policies and propose a strategy to improve such practices and policies.
  3. A direction to the ARWA Executive Director to request that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) permit ARWA to retain the benefit of the recently-granted temporary reduced flow-by release requirements if ARWA and its member jurisdictions change from emergency water restrictions to mandatory water restrictions until Lake Chesdin is refilled.

The ARWA Board approved the third initial step in recognition of the recent recovery of the Lake Chesdin water level and the need to rebalance the Management Priorities of meeting the treated water needs of the residents and businesses of ARWA's member jurisdictions and protecting the environmental health of Lake Chesdin. On October 8, 2010, representatives of DEQ indicated that ARWA's request will be approved and, as a result, the ARWA Board will hold a special meeting at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, October 13, 2010, in the ARWA Board Room at 21300 Chesdin Road, Petersburg, Virginia 23803, to consider changes to ARWA's drought response plan to allow the water restrictions to be reduced from emergency to mandatory.