Last week during the discussion as to scenic river designation for the Hazel, concern over our water resources finally clicked. At one time our rivers were our highways and produced all our power in Rappahannock County. But in the 1930s, electricity was brought into the county, and water power became less necessary.
At one time there were a number of mills in the county helping to do various things from making clothes to sawing timber to processing grain. My great uncle’s mill on the Thornton River was one of the last operating mills in the county.
It appears that since the advent of electricity we have not been paying appropriate attention to our water supply.
Not many people had wells and most households relied on springs. A number of springs have dried up on my farm, and I am sure on others’ also.
Wells are a temporary answer, but more and more wells are going dry and their depth is increasing. It is possible that another solution must be found.
The citizens of Rappahannock and many other Northern Virginia counties do not have sufficient water supply to supply our agricultural and other needs.
What is the cause?
Personally, I believe that our neighbors to the south and east have been tapping our water resources for their own use and development to our detriment. If we do not start protecting our water resources, we could be in drought situations more often in the near future.
We should be as concerned about our supply of water as our quality of water.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Timothy Bondelid, a consulting engineer and hydrologist who is doing a study on Rappahannock’s water situation. I personally hope that the citizens and government of Rappahannock County share my concerns and will lend all their resources to help in his endeavor to portray accurately the water situation in this region at the earliest possible time in order that we may be able to rectify the situation before it is too late.