Board to be updated on potential water conservation efforts, long-term water supply options

jojacobs@vagazette.com

The James City County Board of Supervisors will learn about potential water conservation efforts and receive an update on the proposed long-term water supply options at its work session Tuesday.

James City Service Authority General Manager Doug Powell will outline potential ways the county could conserve water.

The county’s strategic plan outlines longterm investments and priorities for the county’s development over the next 20 years and includes the goal of creating a water conservation plan.

Powell expects to discuss several policies and measures that could improve water conservation, both James City Service Authority initiatives and efforts that could be undertaken by county residents

“The presentation will focus on ideas to promote water conservation,” Powell said.

Also on tap is an update on the county’s options for a long-term water supply, which could take the form of a water treatment plant built near Chickahominy Riverfront Park or Hampton Roads Sanitation District’s Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow program.

The county is considering construction of a $128 million water treatment plant near Chickahominy Riverfront Park. In August, the Department of Environmental Quality approved a permit that would allow the James City Service Authority to draw up to 16.95 million gallons of water daily. In December, the Virginia Marine Resource Commission approved a permit for the proposed project.

The project is still waiting on permit approval from the Army Corps of Engineers. Should the Corps give approval, the county would be free to pursue the project, Powell said.

The plant comes as a potential response to an expected state restriction on how much groundwater the county can draw and anticipated future water consumption. In February 2017, the county received a permit to draw up to 8.4 million gallons of water a day from groundwater sources through 2027. The Department of Environmental Quality will eventually restrict the county’s water withdrawal to 3.8 million gallons. Currently, James City draws about 6 million gallons of water daily. In 2050, demand is expected to average 8.9 million gallons a day.

The county could also pursue the Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow program, which purifies wastewater and injects it back into the county’s groundwater source, the Potomac Aquifer. A treatment facility would pump 8-10 million gallons of water a day into the aquifer, Hampton Roads Sanitation District General Manager Ted Henifin told the Board of Supervisors in September.

The board’s work session will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the county government center board room, located at 101 Mounts Bay Road.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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