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Ragged Mountain Reservoir Reached Maximum Capacity of 1.5 Billion Gallons of Water

An Historic Milestone!

Thanks to an extraordinary effort and multi-stakeholder collaboration involving local water leaders, elected officials, teams of engineers and construction crews, and citizens, a plentiful water supply for our community’s drinking water needs has finally been brought to fruition. The multi-million dollar award-winning dam is a major step toward securing the drinking water, fire protection, and sanitation needs of the community for the next 50 years.

It took engineers seven years to address local public concerns and surmount extensive permitting with over 15 state, local, and federal agencies including Virginia Department of Transportation, FEMA, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation to create this state-of-the-art dam. In 2015, the RWSA and its design consultants received three awards for excellence in construction and engineering from the Virginia Lakes and Watershed Association, the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Virginia, and the American Public Works Association respectively.

Features include the preservation of architectural history from the original 1887 intake tower, real-time monitoring and rapid response for security, installation of fish habitats for aquatic life, dam seepage collection and control for water conservation, and installation of a floating bridge for hikers and naturalists. At 100% full, the water level has reached the forests’ edge, restoring the beauty of this pristine natural area.

Brian Richter, Chief Scientist of the Global Water Program of the Nature Conservancy said, “The completion of the Ragged Mountain expansion project is an important milestone for our community.  By providing additional water storage capacity to secure our water supplies for the future, RWSA also gains important water management flexibility to improve the water releases at Sugar Hollow Dam on the Moorman’s River.  What that means is a healthier Moorman’s River: good for the fish and other animals, and good for anglers and river runners!”

"We turn on our faucets and expect to have safe, reliable drinking water. Not every community is so fortunate. With this project we achieved multiple goals: staying within our watershed, which we have the power to protect; staying within our budget, which is important to every family; and restoring the health of the Moormans river, which harbors life that was on the brink of extinction," said Ridge Schuyler, former Director of Piedmont Programs of the Nature Conservancy.

Brief History
Ragged Mountain has been an asset serving our community since 1887.  It was Charlottesville’s first water supply reservoir around the turn of the century the Upper and Lower Ragged Mountain Dams were constructed in 1887 and 1908.  In the late 70s, after state dam safety regulations were developed, the dam was deemed “unsafe” because of an inadequately-sized spillway to contain the expected water flow from large flood events. Beginning in 2003 Rivanna engineers pursued an upgrade at Ragged Mountain resulting in the decision to design a new earthen dam to provide both future storage needs and a larger spillway. Construction of the Dam began in 2012 and concluded in 2014.  Please visit Ragged Mountain Dam and our “Dam Cool Facts” page of our website at

About RWSA
Rivanna Water and Sewer’s mission is to ensure adequate water supply for now and in the future while protecting the natural environment.  RWSA is a wholesale provider of clean, safe, high-quality drinking water serving City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County Service Authority’s over 120,000 customers. RWSA then treats wastewater, so it can safely return to the aquatic environment of the Rivanna and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.

Media interviews will be held at the upper parking lot of Ragged Mountain Reservoir at 11am today.

For further information or interviews call Thomas L. Frederick, Executive Director, 434.977.2970 ext. 103

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