Water - we tend to only think about it when there is too much of it or too little. Thankfully, there are those with the job of thinking much more about water - the water we drink and the wastewater we need to treat. Oh, yeah and maintaining one of the premier recreation amenities in the southeast - Carvins Cove.
For the past nearly five years I have served on the Board of the Western Virginia Water Authority - most recently having the honor of serving as the Chair. In this capacity I have seen first-hand the vital contribution the men and women of the Authority under the capable leadership of Michael McEvoy make to the health and safety of this region and its quality of life. In addition to their day to day work making certain our drinking water is reliable and safe and that our wastewater is safely treated; two recent collaborative warrant additional mention.
Expanding the Benefits
The Water Authority was established in 2004 when the City of Roanoke and Roanoke County consolidated their systems. Five years later Franklin County joined the Authority and Botetourt County in 2015. Eighteen years after its formation, the Town of Vinton is joining the Authority - an official “valve turning” will take place in June and with it reliable, high-quality, and affordable water will begin to flow from the Authority into Vinton. This expansion represents the largest addition to the Authority since its inception – adding more than 5,000 customers to the system.
In May the Authority and Roanoke Gas Company broke ground on a collaborative project that will produce commercial quality renewable natural gas from bio gas produced at the Authority’s wastewater treatment plant located in Southeast Roanoke. This innovative project will take a by-product of wastewater treatment and convert it into an asset – generating enough renewable natural gas to heat 500 homes on a cold winter day.
These are but two of the latest examples of how what started as a partnership between the City of Roanoke and Roanoke County has flourished into an outstanding example of regional cooperation that continues to better our entire region.
And did I mention, along the way they also manage to provide a phenomenal place to paddle, fish or compete in the Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia's Blue Ridge? Carvins Cove is itself a remarkable collaboration between the Authority, City of Roanoke, Roanoke County, and Botetourt County.
Regional cooperation at its best!
- Bob Cowell