Funding Process Approved for James River Water Authority

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

PALMYRA — The James River Water Authority (JRWA) now has a funding process set between the two parties responsible for the entity. The agreement is pending the expected acceptance of an amendment to the original contract.

Fluvanna Board of Supervisors passed the contract with amendment that set funding breakdown between Louisa and Fluvanna counties for the JRWA with a 3-2 vote on Sept. 18. Don Weaver (Cunningham District) and Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) dissented.

The counties will evenly split costs of JRWA infrastructure which includes costs of reapplying for a withdrawal permit, intake facility and short pipeline, estimated to be about a mile long.

The one-time cost is estimated to be around $3.5 million to shared equally. The counties will also evenly split fixed costs of operating the JRWA year to year. JRWA will divide non-fixed operating costs based on percentage of usage to the two counties.

Each county will also pay and maintain any county owned pipeline from the JRWA section. Louisa is planning to build a pipeline from the JRWA pipeline to the Louisa County line and build a treatment facility in Louisa. Fluvanna has no plans to use the JRWA raw water.

The Fluvanna supervisors are asking Louisa for an amendment to the contract, requiring Louisa to build and maintain a larger pipe for a portion of its pipeline. Louisa would also place another ‘T-junction’ location, allowing Fluvanna to connect to in the future.

The idea of this amendment proposal is it would allow Fluvanna to connect to the JRWA raw water line in a more centralized location without paying for the expanded pipe.

The proposed area for the Louisa-paid junction would be near Kents Store. Fluvanna could connect to that junction and run raw water to Palmyra. There, a centrally located treatment facility could disperse the water to all sections of the county.

Fluvanna, though, has no current plans to connect to the second junction or building a water treatment facility.

Louisa will have to agree to the amendment, which is expected. Fluvanna then would also pass the amendment to complete the contract. Earlier this year Louisa supervisors offered to pay for the entire JRWA operation and pipeline with Fluvanna only paying if wanting to connect in the future.

The ‘second junction amendment’ was proposed late in the night so county attorney Fred Payne suggested requesting the amendment but still passing the contract pending the amendment. This allowed other portions of the contract to move forward, like the counties requesting a change in the permit.

The permitted withdrawal location is currently near Bremo Bluff. JRWA would request moving the permitted withdrawal to a location near the town of Columbia. The process would be more along the lines of requesting a new permit and relinquishing the original. A new permit could also change the permitted withdrawal amount and the Fluvanna-Louisa breakdown.

The current permit evenly splits the permitted three million gallons per day. In the request process, Louisa could demonstrate a need for five million gallons per day and Fluvanna only three million gallons per day. The permit withdrawal could then be for a total of eight million gallons a day, the breakdown would change to such a request.

Department of Environmental Control could lower or even reject the request. The change in permit withdrawal location is pending DEQ approval.


The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.


Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.  He is the founder of the Fluco Blog.  Additional writings can be found at

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