Monday, August 30, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 31: Week of August 30, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 31) for the week of August 30, 2010. This week's show is hosted by Alan Raflo, research associate at the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, located at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Our show presents news and notices that relate to Virginia’s waters, from the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean.

Audio archived 6-18-12; please contact Virginia Water Radio for access to audio file (length: 8:32).


This week our news segment offers several water-supply “snapshots” from around the Commonwealth.
  • Potomac River basin: In May 2010, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin released a study of expected long-range water demand and availability for utilities serving the area around Washington, D.C., including several northern Virginia localities. The Washington Metropolitan Area Water Supply Reliability Study is repeated every five years for the Washington Aqueduct, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, and Fairfax Water. The main conclusions of the demand and resource forecast for the year 2040 are as follows:
    1. The area’s current water supply should meet demands through 2030 under a range of hydrologic conditions. 
    2. By 2040, during droughts the system may struggle to meet demands unless there are usage restrictions, developing additional supplies, or both. 
    3. Summertime increases in water usage may be offsetting the benefits of water-efficient indoor appliances. 
    4. The system’s largest reservoir, Jennings Randolph, is apparently losing storage capacity due to sedimentation faster than previously estimated. 
News source: 2010 Washington Metropolitan Area Water Supply Reliability Study Part 1: Demand and Resource Availability Forecast for the Year 2040, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, accessed 8/24/10. 
  • James River basin: On August 17, Louisa County said that it is ending discussions with Fluvanna County about a proposed project to build a pipeline from the James River across Fluvanna to the developing Zion Crossroads area on the Fluvanna-Louisa border. The counties have been discussing a joint water project for many years, and in April 2009 they formed the James River Authority. On August 16, however, Fluvanna County decided not to agree to Louisa’s requirement that the counties establish shared funding of the Authority and seek funding for the Zion Crossroads pipeline from the Virginia Resources Authority. Fluvanna opponents to the project and to funding the James River Authority have expressed concerns about potential tax increases and about yielding control to the Authority. News sources: Louisa finally gives up on Fluvanna in water partnership, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 8/18/10; and After Fluvanna balks, Louisa considers new water options, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 8/16/10.
  • Also in the James basin: A years-long debate continues over water-supply planning in the Albemarle County-Charlottesville area, served by the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority. In April 2006, local officials approved a 50-year plan to build a new, larger dam at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir and a pipeline to this reservoir from the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir. The decision was based in part on a 2004 study projecting a demand of 18.7 million gallons per day (or MGD) by 2055. But in 2008, significantly increased cost estimates caused local officials to postpone the project, seek additional studies, and reconsider various other options. One key study has been a new demand analysis, called for after reports in April 2010 of decreased water usage in the area since 2006. In mid-August, Swartz Engineering Economics reported a new 50-year demand projection of 18.45 MGD by 2060. The local group Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan, however, asserted that the Swartz report did not account fully for increased water-conservation practices that have developed in the area in the past decade. News sources: Demand analysis review finds long term water needs largely unchanged, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 8/20/10; Opponents say review of water supply demand failed to account for conservation, Charlottesville Tommorow, 8/24/10; and City officials divided on water plan info, Charlottesville Daily Progress, 4/7/10. For more information: In January 2010, the Charlottesville Tomorrow Web site, at, posted a review of the recent history of long-term water-supply planning in the Albemarle-Charlottesville area. Also, for accounts of some previous developments in the Albemarle-Charlottesville water-supply planning situation, please see the following issues/pages of Virginia Water Central, available online at May 2010 News Supplement, p.15; August 2009, p.27; June 2009, p.30; and September 2008, p.12.
  • New River basin: In August, Pulaski County officials announced a plan to connect the county’s water system with the City of Radford’s system in order to improve service to the eastern part of Pulaski. Pulaski’s connection will allow some of Radford’s unused water to serve the New River Valley Commerce Park, a 973-acre industrial park co-owned by 11 localities. The $6.8 million project to connect Pulaski’s system to Radford will be paid for by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce and a $3.8 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. News source: Roanoke Times/New River Current, 8/13/10 (no Internet link available)

This week we feature another selection by “The Bard of the Chesapeake Bay,” the late Tom Wisner, with Teresa Whitaker and Frank Schwartz, performing an easily digested lesson about ecological food chains, "The Sunshine Bankers," from the 1984 album “Chesapeake Song and Story for Young Hearts,” on Folkways Records. As the lyrics describe, two key components of aquatic food chains are phytoplankton, which are mostly microscopic, floating algae; and zooplankton, which are small floating or swimming animals that feed on phytoplankton or other zooplankton. The amounts and kinds of plankton have important ecological influences in many aquatic systems, including the Chesapeake Bay. A Washington, D.C., native and long-time Maryland resident, Tom Wisner dedicated his life to learning, singing, and teaching about the Bay and its protection. More information about Tom Wisner is available from A Bay's Life in Story and Song: A Celebration of Tom Wisner,, 1/16/10; and from the following two obituaries: Thomas A. Wisner, 79: 'Bard of the Chesapeake' sang about the bay he loved, Washington Post, 4/4/10, and “Bard of the Bay”—Tom Wisner-Gone But Not Forgotten,, 4/11/10. “Chesapeake Song and Story for Young Hearts” is available for sample listening and purchase on the Smithsonian Folkways Web site at A PDF of the liner notes is also available. A good Web site to learn about plankton is provided by the Chesapeake Bay Program at


First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between September 1st and 7th.
  • On September 1, the Virginia Recycling Markets Development Council meets in Glen Allen. For more information, phone Steve Coe at (804) 698-4029.

  • On September 1 in Richmond, there will be sub-committee meetings of the Stormwater Management Program Regulations Advisory Panel. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291. The Stormwater Management Regulatory Advisory Panel is advising the Soil and Water Conservation Board in considering amendments to Parts 1, 2, 3, and 13 of the Virginia Stormwater Management Program Permit Regulations (4 VAC 50-60 in the Virginia Administrative Code), to address criteria for water quality and quantity, criteria and procedures for local stormwater-management programs, and the administration and schedule of fees. The advisory panel’s four sub-committees are addressing grandfathering, offsets/credits, water quality, and water quantity. More information and relevant documents about the proposed stormwater changes are available online at
And in upcoming educational and recreational events:
  • From September 1 through October 31 across the Commonwealth, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is coordinating the Stewardship Virginia Fall Campaign. The campaign encourages citizens to organize projects that enhance natural, historic, and cultural resources. For more information, phone (877) 429-2837.

  • On September 10 to 12, at Skyland Resort in Shenandoah National Park near Waynesboro, the Virginia Native Plant Society is holding its annual meeting. Many field trips will also be conducted. For more information, phone (540) 837-1600.

  • On September 15 to 16, the 2010 Virginia Environmental Education Conference takes place at James Madison’s Montpelier estate in Orange County. For more information, phone Sheila Barnett at (804) 698-4055. The conference is organized by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's Office of Environmental Education and the Virginia Naturally Program, available online at

    For more information about government policy and regulatory meetings, click here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, where these meetings are listed by date. E-mail addresses for contact people are available there. For TMDL meetings, click here for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Web site. Please note that TMDL meetings are also listed at the Town Hall site, but are included among all other meetings. In the educational and recreation events section, organizations, events, or both are hyperlinked whenever possible. Click on those links for more information.  
Virginia Water Radio is a product of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which is solely responsible for the show’s content. Hosting and bandwidth for this podcast are also provided by the Water Center. We invite you to visit the center online at

Show notes and production assistance were provided by Patrick Fay. Recording assistance was provided by the Office of University Relations at Virginia Tech.

Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Water Center, Virginia Tech, or this station.

If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463, or visit our web site at