The James River Water Project has the potential to be the most significant public works undertaking in Louisa County’s history.
At an initial cost of $66 million, the project isn’t close to past milestones such as the construction of Interstate 64 in terms of dollars spent. But the long-term impact on the county’s economy and character may be greater.
When the work is done, a pipeline will carry water from the river’s edge in Fluvanna County to residents and businesses in Ferncliff and Zion Crossroads who now rely on wells. In the future, Louisa County could decide to extend the pipeline to Lake Anna and other growth areas to feed water demand there.
County leaders envision the water project will trigger economic development in the growth areas and provide a positive return on the investment. At the same time, officials want to keep intensive development out of the county’s rural areas.
It is difficult to quantify what the payoff from the water project will be, or when it will be felt in the county’s coffers. The county has not done a return on investment study.
Progress is being made, with the pipeline now in place along Rt. 250 (Three Notch Road) and the Ferncliff water treatment plant 60 percent complete. Work is also underway on the raw water pipeline between Ferncliff and Rt. 6 in Fluvanna County, near the river.
Though most of the project will be finished in 2018, the entire infrastructure will not be complete until at least 2020, a date that has shifted forward due to delays.
To read the entire story, see the Nov. 30 edition of The Central Virginian.