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Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, and others enact voluntary water restrictions due to low water levels in James

August and September were particularly dry months in Central Virginia, leaving water levels in the James River lower than usual and prompting area leaders to call on residents to observe voluntary water restrictions.

Trevor Dickerson



It’s been somewhat of a dry summer and early fall, and because of that, the James River–most Central Virginia localities’ source of drinking water–is getting pretty low.

While we’ve endured much worse, we were still down just under 4 inches of rain for the month of September, according to NBC12 Meteorologist Ros Runner. “While we were a little behind through the end of August, we have seen a substantial increase in our rainfall deficit courtesy of a dry September,” Runner said on his blog. “It’s becoming abnormally dry, but we are not in any immediate danger of drought conditions as long as we get some rain soon.”

Image: NBC12

Due to ongoing low water levels in the James River, Henrico County is joining the city of Richmond and Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover and Powhatan counties to implement voluntary water conservation measures, effective Tuesday, October 10th.

As part of the measures, residents are asked to water their home lawns according to the following schedule:

  • Monday: No watering
  • Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: Odd-numbered addresses can water lawns
  • Wednesday, Friday, Sunday: Even-numbered addresses can water lawns

In accordance with Richmond’s James River Regional Flow Management Plan, voluntary conservation measures are implemented when water levels drop to 1,200 cubic feet per second or to a depth of 3-1/2 feet at the Westham gauge.

The region tracks river-flow levels on a 14-day rolling average. Voluntary conservation measures will be suspended when the rolling average remains above 1,200 cubic feet per second for 14 consecutive days.

Voluntary compliance will help water treatment plants in Richmond, Henrico, and Chesterfield provide water to all customers in the region while also meeting the James River Regional Flow Management Plan. Although the localities are asking customers to conserve, they remain able to produce and deliver safe drinking water to meet necessary use and emergency requirements of communities in the region.

Additional water conservation tips are available on the Virginia Department of Health’s website here.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.