Restrictions will remain until lake is full

Though recent rain events have helped raise Lake Chesdin’s water level significantly, mandatory water restrictions will remain in place until the lake is full.

On Friday, Appomattox River Water Authority Executive Director Chris Dawson said the policy was to keep mandatory restrictions in place until Lake Chesdin was full.

“We’re 20 inches short of being full this morning, which is up two inches from yesterday,” he said.

On Wednesday, Oct. 13, Chesterfield County reduced emergency water-use restrictions to mandatory restrictions. As a member of the ARWA, Chesterfield County had been under emergency water-use restrictions since Sept. 28. The authority eased those measures on Oct. 13, according to information from the county.

A water release waiver from the Department of Environmental Quality allowing the ARWA to release less water from the lake is still in effect, Dawson said. From June to September, officials said at a meeting last month, 70 percent of the water that came into the lake was released as dictated by the water protection permit, and another 9 percent was lost to evaporation. About 20 percent was used by the member jurisdictions, officials said.

On Sept. 17, DEQ modified the water protection permit to grant verbal temporary relief, officials said. On Sept. 21, the agency granted further relief of 70 percent of the total inflow, and on Sept. 24 it eliminated the side stream multiplier, allowing the lake to release water on a one-to-one basis.

“I don’t see us making any changes” to the waiver, Dawson said Friday. “We’re still matching the upstream flows.”

The two big factors in getting the lake level back up were the relaxed water release requirements and the recent rain events, he said. Though water conservation by residents helped, the bulk of the water that comes out of the lake is what is released to flow downstream, he said.

“The downstream portion of the river was supposed to look like it would have it the reservoir didn’t exist,” he said.

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