Unfortunately, we do not yet know the total costs of the fifty-year community water
supply plan. Just like a major highway project, we cannot do the preliminary engineering
and design work until we have agreed upon a concept for the infrastructure to be built. Only
after more engineering details have been specified can more accurate costs be determined
as contracts are signed with firms doing the actual construction. This uncertainty about
the final costs can be frustrating, but at the same time is not unexpected for a project of
this magnitude. Cost estimates can also change because of design modifications, delays,
further studies, inflation, and a fluctuating construction market.
norris encourages Alternatives
In February 2009, Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris began advocating for a new
approach to the water supply plan. The four parts of the current Norris Plan include:
- Reducing the new storage needed at Ragged Mountain by dredging the South Fork
- Increased conservation and efficiency with respect to water usage. Current plan
assumes 5% conservation rate.
- Repairing and building on top of the existing Lower Ragged Mountain Dam (built circa
1908) by raising the pool elevation only by 13 feet instead of the 45 feet proposed.
- Reducing the new storage needed at Ragged Mountain by enlarging the diameter of
the new pipeline connecting the reservoirs which he says will allow Ragged Mountain
to be filled more quickly by water taken from South Fork.
Some of these same proposals have been advocated previously as alternatives by Citizens
for a Sustainable Water Plan. It is important
to note that the Norris Plan does not have
definitive costs nor does it specify yet how
much water it could provide to the community.
Norris has said publicly that he accepts the
community’s population projections that
are one key assumption in the water plan.
He also accepts the general framework
of the water plan to build a new pipeline
between the reservoirs and create additional
storage at Ragged Mountain. Norris thinks
that dredging at South Fork can contribute
significantly to the water supply goals and that
greater emphasis should be placed on the
community’s ability to conserve.
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