Springs have dried up, wells are going dry and — until this week, at least, after an unusually dry spring and summer — the weather hasn’t cooperated by providing the kind of drenching rains that lets water seep down to replenish the supply.
At its regular monthly meeting Monday, the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors will receive a report from a consulting engineer outlining the problems the county is facing in water supply.
Consulting engineer Tim Bondelid will attend the 2 p.m. meeting in the county courthouse to review his findings to date.
Bondelid has worked in the past as a consultant with RappFLOW (Rappahannock Friends and Lovers of Our Watershed), which has provided citizen input to the county on water issues before, according to County Administrator John W. McCarthy.
In a copy of the report obtained by the Rappahannock News, Bondelid said that from his observation and from anecdotal evidence collected from local residents, wells are going dry in Sperryville, farmers haven’t been able to get water from streams for mixing fertilizers and springs have dried up.
In addition, “crop or pasture losses likely; fire risk very high; water shortages common; water restrictions imposed” due to the drought, Bondelid said in his summary.
He notes that Rappahannock is a headwater county, so there is no water coming into it from upstream. Wells represent virtually the entire water source for people.
McCarthy said the water-supply study was mandated earlier this year by the state and must be completed and filed with the state next year.
He said Monday’s presentation will be a “status report” and not the final word on the issue.
Bondelid said in his report’s conclusions that additional data can be purchased and McCarthy said he will recommend to the supervisors that they do so.
Bondelid also said there is a need to quantify the changes in streamflow, precipitation, temperature, snowfall, when and where springs have dried up and to secure data on wells. Strategies will also have to be developed for dealing with the problem, which he noted is a regional issue.