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2011-01-26 / News Briefs

Chesdin residents may be able to use boats this summer

Gwen Sadler

The Appomattox River Water Authority is changing how it measures the inflow of water into Lake Chesdin reservoir, hoping to boost water levels during drought conditions.

Last summer, 70 percent of the lake’s water was released downriver. The ARWA believes the current method for calculating inflows ultimately led to too much water being released downriver. The result was a dried-out lake and angry homeowners who were unable to enjoy their waterfront property.

The new measuring method will be in effect through the spring and summer, until the ARWA completes studies of its effectiveness to submit to the Virginia departments of Environmental Quality and Game and Inland Fisheries for their review.

“This is an interim measure to change the inflow and release calculations until studies are completed and a more permanent solution is in place,” said Chris Dawson, ARWA’s executive director.

The DEQ and GIF departments estimate that had the new calculation method been used last summer, the water level at Lake Chesdin would have dropped by only 2 feet, rather than the 12 feet it actually dropped.

The ARWA is preparing to get the requisite studies under way and expect them to be complete sometime in the fall.

ARWA will also enter into an agreement with the U.S. Geological Survey to install an additional flow gauge on the Appomattox River, closer to the Lake Chesdin reservoir, so that a more local estimate of water flow into the Appomattox River can be determined. The current gauge may be too far from the reservoir to provide an accurate estimate.

“These are two steps toward a final solution to [prevent] what happened last summer,” Dawson said.

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