Plans are to raise the height of the George Brasfield Dam, located on Lake Chesdin by 18 inches, thereby increasing Lake Chesdin’s storage capacity by approximately 20 percent or 1.9 billion gallons. If not completed, the County may need to impose mandatory water restrictions sooner during drought-like conditions.
The George Brasfield Dam, is owned and operated by the Appomattox River Water Authority (ARWA).
Chesterfield County is one of five localities that are members of ARWA. This project will fund the County’s share of project expenses for raising the George Brasfield dam that exceeds the $5 million grant awarded to ARWA by the state.
While this is a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) project; according to William Dupler, Chesterfield’s Deputy Director of the Community Development Division, there is no impact expected on the operating budget.
In six of the past seven years, residents who rely on Lake Chesdin have faced water restrictions. In 2010, the water level at Lake Chesdin had reached critical levels during severe summer droughts. Raising the reservoir volume at Lake Chesdin would significantly diminish the occurrences of residential water restrictions and maintain the Appomattox River’s downstream flow to ensure Hopewell’s water plant can withdraw water from the river as well.
The Appomattox River, through Lake Chesdin, is the primary source of drinking water for over 400,000 residents in Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie, Petersburg, and Prince George. Fort Lee relies on Lake Chesdin for nearly half of its water supply as well.
The project will cost about $10 million. The Virginia General Assembly approved $5 million for the project, with the additional to be paid by the six jurisdictions that the Chesdin Reservoir services. The project is expected to begin in 2015.