Agreement Reached on Reservoir Project
The Henrico County Board of Supervisors and Cumberland County have approved a Memorandum of Understanding regarding a proposed reservoir project.
The reservoir will be built on Cobbs Creek, just off Midlothian Turnpike.
Pinkerton: The original concept was for an Authority with three jurisdictions, Henrico, Cumberland and Powhatan County.
Bob Pinkerton is Henrico’s Deputy County Manager for Community Operations.
Pinkerton: The project was conceived by Cumberland County, and our first meeting that Henrico attended was in December 2002.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding, Henrico will build and operate what is called a flow augmentation reservoir.
Pinkerton: We would locate a reservoir in Cumberland County, construct it, build a dam, and then pump water from the James River into the reservoir, get it filled up, and then during low flows of the James River, principally during the summer months, of course, when it reaches a certain level, that would trigger a reverse of that flow, that being from the reservoir and putting original river water back into the river.
The reservoir, covering just over 11 hundred acres, will hold around 15 billion gallons of water.
Pinkerton: This reservoir has what's called a safe yield of 47 million gallons a day and of that, Henrico County has allocated 30 million gallons; what that does, it assures Henrico County that when our needs approach additional demand for water, that we will be able to get the ability to withdraw additional water out of the James River up to an additional 30 million gallons, up to a set total of 75 million gallons.
Right now, Henrico is permitted to draw 45 million gallons of water per day from the James. The estimated cost of the project is $280 million dollars.
Pinkerton: There is no federal money anticipated for this; since we started with this back in 2002, shortly after that, our Public Utilities department started programming our capital improvement program for funds toward the Cobbs Creek reservoir, and that's built into our rate structure out into the future. The 280 million dollar total project cost includes the preliminary and the final engineering, the acquisition of 17 parcels that comprise the 1107 acres; it also includes the final design, the relocation of utilities; we have two major gas llines going through there and one electrical overhead line we've gotta relocate. It also includes the wetlands mitigation and construction costs associated with that, the construction cost of the dam itself.
Now that the agreement has been reached, he added:
Pinkerton: Within the next 90 to 120 days, we hope to be able to issue a contract to an engineering consulting firm to start guiding us through the design, as well as the rest of the environmental issues we've gotta deal with and start this thing rollin'.
Construction is about five years out. One concern of Cumberland supervisors, Pinkerton noted, was recreational use of the reservoir.
Pinkerton: They will have pretty much full access to the reservoir for recreational purposes, as well as development around the reservoir.
The Cobbs Creek Reservoir project, he added, is increasingly important to the county.
Pinkerton: We're extremely pleased in what this does, it provides a source of water and assurances of water for the future growth of Henrico County for the next 50 years, as we anticipate it.
Henrico Supervisor Chair Patricia O’Bannon says the Cobbs Creek Reservoir project will be a model for regional cooperation in the Commonwealth.
John Ogle, WCVE News