A water supply campaign has been started by the Northern Virginia Builders Association, the Northern Virginia Board of Realtors and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce.
They have combined to urge action by local, state and federal government officials on a proposed solution to the water supply crisis in Northern Virginia.
NVBA president David H. Miller said the association endorses using exces river water which would be piped to augment the Occoquan reservoir, the primary water supply source for the fastest-growing areas of Northern Virginia.
Miller claimed: "This is a problem that the politicians have been aware of for 30 years and time is about to run out. All summer long we have sat and watched the Occoquan dip some 16 feet below its normal level. Had this supplemental flow been its normal level. Had this supplemental flow been in effect, this never ould have happened. And furthermore, we could have drawn water from either the Potomac or the Shenandoah without harm to anyone's water supply because neither has hit its low flow level yet and billions of gallons of water have been allowed to flow by without capture for beneficial usage."
Miller said that an NVBA study of the Occoquan augmentation proposal, originally advanced by former Virginia State Water Control Board chairman Noman S. Cole, indicates that it is the best alternative solution proposed to date. Action on the water supply problem must be taken immediately to avert a severe crisis in the 1980s, Miller said.
According to the Northern Virginia Board of Realtors' president Michael C. Fox, "Together we intend to act as a catalyst by getting our elected officials to fill the leadership void which has existed to date and to implement an expeditious solution to the water problem."
Reasons cited by the three organizations for endorsing the Occoquan augmentation proposal include:
In terms of cost, it appears to be more economically feasible than other proposed solutions.
No additional dams or impoundments will be required, and the likelihood of federal funding for the augmentation system is feasible.
In addition to calling for action to implement the Occoquan augmentation plan, the builders, the realtors and the chamber are urging immediate signing of a low flow agreement for the Potomac River. Fairfax County Chamber of Comemrce president William F. Blocher Jr., indicated that, "Until it is signed, work cannot begin on the proposed, badly needed upper Potomac treatment plant."
Pointing out that the plant will take four years to build, Blocher said that it is the organizations' position that construction must beginnow. He further stated, "While Virginia has signed the proposed low flow agreement, approval has been withheld by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because of its concern about water supplies for the District of Columbia."