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Reservoir's Progress

CUMBERLAND – According to Greg Baka, Cumberland County's director of community and economic development, Henrico County's Department of Public Utilities is looking outside of the proposed Cobbs Creek Reservoir area for usable areas to conduct soil borrowing.

The Cobbs Creek Reservoir is now in Henrico's hands and has been progressing forward. So far, since Cumberland turned the project over, Henrico's Department of Public Utilities has held an informational meeting and started working towards drafting proposed acquisition area plats for individual affected properties in the Cobbs Creek Reservoir area of Cumberland County near the James River.

Through conducting record work on some of the acquisition plats, according to Baka's report to the Board of Supervisors last week, a few issues have been brought to his attention.

“One, in conversations with Henrico County Department of Public Utilities, they've identified certain areas, well I guess I can just identify them as peninsulas…that would literally jut out into the areas around the proposed reservoir. And some of those areas, they've identified as potential sites for soil borrowing. Meaning, it's land that's outside of the areas absolutely necessary for the construction…but its quality potential might be good for the earthen dam.”

Beyond that, Baka said, “our role is identifying what is in the best interest of Cumberland County.”

“In talking with staff and others involved,” he said, “with this project we are also trying to identify situations where we can maintain existing real estate parcels-particularly those that are two acres or greater along the perimeter of the reservoir…”

“We are in communication back and forth about that issue,” he added. “Rather than their utility's company coming in and buying that land, we're trying to find ways to best support…keeping that land in Cumberland…”

The reservoir is set to be located near Routes 690 and 686 in the Cartersville area, or northwest Cumberland County, and is the result of an earlier partnership between Henrico, Cumberland, and Powhatan counties.

Cumberland ultimately agreed to a memorandum of understanding with Henrico in the summer of 2010.

“Construction might begin in 2015,” suggested Baka during an earlier update. “With that taking about four years to construct. The bulk of that time would be to create a large 150-foot tall earthen dam that will be about 3,800 feet in length according to Henrico on the northern edge of the property closer to the James River.”

A few other facts mentioned during that previous update are that the elevation is proposed to be about 340 feet above sea level and there would be about a seven-foot wide intake pipe.

According to past information, the augmentation reservoir will be a 1,100-acre body of water captured from the James River when the river flows are appropriate and then during times of drought or other periods of river flow, controlled releases of water will be delivered back to the James River from the reservoir's supply.

The pumped storage facility will have the capacity to store approximately 15 billion gallons of water, with a yield of approximately 47 million gallons per day once completed.