DEQ Remains Vigilant

Published 4:27 pm Thursday, September 13, 2012

FARMVILLE – Despite increased rain and improved stream flow, “ground water levels continued to decline, however, in many areas,” according to the Department of Environmental Quality's September 7 Drought Status Report.

The report also warns “a very warm, dry September could enhance any risk of developing water supply problems-especially in well-fed systems.”

DEQ has retained the Drought Warning status for the Appomattox River Basin and its communities, including Farmville, Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward.

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DEQ notes that the September 4 U.S. Drought Monitor web pages “indicate that abnormally dry conditions exist across approximately 53 percent of the state.

As for DEQ's August 14 Drought Warning Advisory for the Appomattox River Basin, the department's September 7 update notes that water levels in Lake Chesdin-the basin's main public water supply source-“dropped to greater than four feet below its full pool level during August.”

The above average rains that concluded August and continued in early September helped regain a foot of Lake Chesdin's water. “The water level report for September 7 was 36 inches below full pool level,” the DEQ report states.

Though one might have thought the rainfall would have seen the Drought Warning Advisory lifted, DEQ's Drought Management Task Force recommended during its monthly meeting on September 6 to continue these advisories and closely monitor conditions during the month.

As DEQ's Director of Water Supply, Scott Kudlas, told The Herald this week, “While rainfall deficits and stream flow has improved due to recent rainfall, groundwater levels continue to cause stream flow to recede quickly after a storm.”

And, Kudlas added, “we are also waiting for water supply storage to improve basin-wide.”

The communities depending in Lake Chesdin for their water supply continue under mandatory water restrictions, according to the September 7 DEQ report.

The report also points out that though the hurricane season has not been a quiet one, tropical systems “have brought very little moisture to Virginia. Forecasts still indicate expectations of a near normal season overall. Nonetheless, we are in the most active period of hurricane season and even weak and decaying remnants of these storms can be sufficient to bring heavy rains over large areas.”

DEQ's next update will be in the October.