WORK SESSION AGENDA REQUEST
Sharon McCamy, Vice Chairman, Lee District
April 15, 2002
Board of Supervisors
Person Making Request
Anthony I. Hooper, Assistant County Administrator
The work session is
intended to provide general background information concerning the drought
conditions in Virginia and the northeast.
The following assessment by the Office and Emergency Services is in
process regarding the current drought situation within Fauquier County:
Town of Warrenton: No problems
Town of Remington
The older/shallow wells are at
New and deeper wells are being
drilled as a result
Private communities system
Municipal – Hydrants
Static Sources (ponds)
Most are very low, in some
cases measured in feet below normal
Many are ineffective due to the
low level of water
Dry Conditions: -
Threat Assessment for “wild Drought Awareness land fires” (Chuck
Kuhler, Virginia Department of Forestry)
Concerns: (Peter Mitchell)
Water supply for animals
Department of Emergency Management provided the following information
(March 3, 2002):
Stream flows are well below normal; expect to set new
monthly minimum stream flows for March for over 50% of streams in
Virginia; now seeing conditions normally seen in September.
Current ground water conditions are not yet as low as those of the
Reservoirs are down (Smith Mountain Lake should be full now
– it’s not – normally release 600 cfs – now releasing only 250 cfs;
Kerr Reservoir, while stable, is now one foot below guide curve – expect
to be six to seven feet below the guide curve by end of March; Moonmaw/Gathright
only has 25% of conservation pool remaining – 75% has been used – this
has never happened before at this time of year; Lake Anna is only
releasing one-half of its normal amount.
No significant precipitation is forecast.
We are now entering the time of year for scattered thunderstorm
type rains, versus prolonged significant (coastal or cyclonic type) rains.
Cold front passages will bring dry windy conditions.
Situation is worst West of Route 29 and in Northern
Virginia; It will only take another couple of months to exceed 1960’s
level of dryness. We need to
think about “worst case” scenario (based upon 1930’s drought) and
adjust to today’s population, etc.
Have received eleven requests for Agricultural Drought
Disaster designation from localities; Goochland has already been declared
by USDA; requests are due to poor pasture conditions and lack of water for
livestock – crop losses are not included and too early to tell actual
impact on crops (typically poor soil moisture=poor crop yield); (USDA)
concern is that not much winter small grains were planted last year and
poor soil content this year may delay or cancel summer planting; Concern
is that farmers are losing water supplies and are using up stored hay
supplies more quickly – so they will either have to buy hay/water or
sell their stock (at poor price); note that most federal Agricultural
disaster aid is focused on crops not livestock losses.
Seed planted in winter not germinating well; pastures will
be over-seeded this spring, if moisture content improves.
No affects on public ground water supply systems noted at
this time; there are several systems on either mandatory or voluntary
restrictions; hardest hit area of state appears West of Route 29.
Expect significant impacts on recreational activities;
concerned about fire hazards on department owned lands and about spring
hunting season; already seeing impacts on fish stocking programs.
Spring fire season (and busiest two month period for fire
activity) is here; have had significant increase in fires since 2nd
week of February; (Since January have had three times the normal number of
fires over a five to ten year average); due to overall dry conditions it
is difficult to move resources around to assist on fires (entire state has
potential); Real potential to need National guard assistance with troops
and helicopters to fight fires, in addition to normal use of other state
and federal resources.
Are getting indications of private well problems in many
areas, but no indications of public water system problems yet; VDEM is
updating procedures to send localities for assessment of potable water
shortages, has asked DGS to update list of companies willing to provide
bottled water and bulk water to state and local governments on short
notice, and are staying in contact with DACS to monitor overall status of
drought problem (both agricultural and otherwise); Executive Order 87 (01)
Governor’s Declaration of Emergency was issued in October 2000 and is
still in effect; recommend DMTF brief Cabinet by end of this month on
situation and discuss courses of action they might want/need to take,
including funding issues; note that the federal agricultural disaster
designation is different from a federal major disaster or emergency
declaration normally handled through VDEM – this can be confusing to
work session will provide an opportunity for review and comments
concerning the current drought situation within Fauquier County and the
Commonwealth of Virginia.
IDENTIFY ANY OTHER DEPARTMENTS,
ORGANIZATIONS OR INDIVIDUALS THAT WOULD BE AFFECTED BY THIS REQUEST: