As Croze’s water supply, the Beaver Creek Reservoir was thought in 2005 to have an adequate supply for at least the next 50 years. Last week, the Board of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) learned that a safe yield study and revised population projections had shortened that window of sufficiency to approximately 30 years. As part of a $20,000 water supply planning grant, RWSA’s consultant Gannet Fleming determined the reservoir’s safe yield, or the amount of water the Beaver Creek Reservoir can provide Crozet at the time of our worst drought on record, to be 1.8 million gallons per day (MGD). [Gannet Fleming report]
In June and July 2007, Crozet’s almost 5,000 residents were using on average about 0.48 MGD of treated water from Beaver Creek. In other words, with a safe yield of 1.8 MGD, there is plenty of water in Crozet for today’s population. As a result of the excess capacity, and until the Ragged Mountain Reservoir is expanded, Beaver Creek is also looked to as a backup water source for the urban water supply (i.e. Charlottesville, UVA, and Albemarle’s urban ring) should the community enter a drought emergency.
When will Crozet’s growing population require more than 1.8 million gallons of water per day? The new answer: Sometime after 2035.
Gannet Fleming, first in 2004 while developing a 50-year urban water supply plan, and now in 2007 as part of the Beaver Creek safe yield analysis , has asked Albemarle for population estimates . In 2004 Gannet Fleming was told that Crozet’s projected build-out population in twenty years would be 12,000 people, a number they extrapolated to also be Crozet’s maximum population in 50 years. Since then, County staff have determined that the “theoretical ultimate build-out” population for Crozet could reach closer to 24,000 sometime beyond 2024.
Albemarle County’s 30-year population projection for Crozet (2005-2035) is 17,101 [see table]. Mark Graham, Albemarle’s Director of Community Development, told Charlottesville Tomorrow that, “This is a population number for RWSA’s planning purposes, but it is in no way a number the County has adopted for Crozet” Graham emphasized that the Board of Supervisors has not taken any action on these estimates and that they are for a point in time beyond the current master plan.
In their June 2007 report, Gannet Fleming determined that, by 2035, a potential Crozet population of 17,101 will demand 1.59 MGD. In light of the safe yield data, Gannet Fleming projects current water demand needs in Crozet could be met for next 30 years. RWSA staff suggests, however, that beyond 30 years, “future forecasts should reassess capacity for Crozet.” By contrast, before this 2007 study was completed, Gannet Fleming had predicted Crozet (at a population of 12,000) would require approximately 1.1 MGD in 2055.
Having a good water supply is but aspect of producing a safe and sufficient water and sewer system for growth area residents. As it stands now, Crozet’s water treatment plant has a capacity of only 1.0 MGD; furthermore the plants pipes reach maximum capacity at 1.3 MGD. Thus RWSA has other infrastructure upgrades to plan during the next 30 years to satisfy Crozet’s growing population. The capital project to design the water treatment expansion is currently scheduled to begin in 2010.
Here you can view all of Charlottesville Tomorrow’s past posts on Crozet, including items related to the 2006 discussion by the Board of Supervisors of Crozet’s population estimates.
* Crozet population estimates provided by Albemarle County to Gannet Fleming as part of water supply planning study completed in June 2007.
This article originally appeared on Charlottesville Tomorrow’s blog here.