Sell Mottley Lake

Published 11:17 am Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sell Mottley Lake?

The Town of Farmville is actively considering the possibility of making that big splash.

The lake, located several miles west of town, was wisely purchased seven years ago as an insurance policy against devastating drought conditions. Water released from Mottley Lake would supplement the Appomattox River upstream from the Town’s water treatment plant.

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If the Town can sell the lake while retaining the water rights, it should do so. The protective insurance policy would remain and the Town would make a sizeable deposit in its treasury from the proceeds of the sale—the proverbial win-win for the Town, its residents, businesses and all who depend upon Farmville’s water system.

Memories of the Appomattox River, shriveled to a stream so tiny, as it approached the water plant, that one could easily stand with one foot on either “bank,” can never be washed away by even the heaviest rainfall. Though more than a decade old, the way that drought swallowed the river, nearly whole, floods any talk of ‘oh, the town could never run out of water’ and washes those words away.

Unsurprisingly, town council readily accepted its finance committee’s recommendation to authorize the Town Manager and Town Attorney to prepare, as needed, the information council members would need in order to determine the best way to advertise the property’s sale.

“We feel like we can actually sell this property and still maintain the rights to the water,” finance committee chair Jamie Davis told town council during its discussion, “which is very important.”

Davis is optimistic a buyer can be found who would accept the water right retention stipulation. “We feel like there’s quite a few people who would understand the importance of that, that the Town needs to retain the authority and ability to release that water into the Appomattox River in a drought scenario,” he advised council members.

If the Town were to sell Mottley Lake and retain the water rights, it would be penny-wise and in no way impoundment-foolish.