Did you know: The Ivy River is the main water source for Weaverville?
The Ivy Watershed is in peril and needs your help. Please join our email list for updates.
The Ivy Watershed is in peril and needs your help. Please join our email list for updates.
Our Ivy River Watershed is in peril. From the headwaters of Big Ivy Creek in Pisgah National Forest above Barnardsville to the confluence miles downstream at the French Broad River in Marshall. Multiple environmental issues exist that can irreversibly damage our beautiful Ivy River Watershed.
Issue 1: Weaverville's water treatment plant expansion plan to increase withdrawal from Our Ivy River to 3.0 million gallons per day. The Ivy river cannot sustainably provide that quantity of water during low flow and drought. Did you know Weaverville is not located in Our Ivy River Watershed? The water that is removed from the Ivy River never makes it back into our watershed.
Issue 2: The USDA Forestry Management Plan to log Pisgah National Forest at our headwaters.. Our watershed cannot support the flooding and sedimentation this logging will cause. To learn more visit Iheartpisgah.org
Issue 3: New Developers within our watershed failing to properly maintain sediment ponds, resulting in heavy sedimentation that literally chokes the wildlife in our river during heavy rains. We must hold developers responsible.
Issue 4: Inaction. You can make a difference, but you have to do something. Pick up the phone, write an email, make a sign, show up to events, donate time and resources.
The next few months will determine the next several decades of Our Ivy River Watershed. Get involved and engaged now while we can still Save Ivy River!
In August of 2008, the Ivy River had a flow of 2.8 million gallons per day at a measurement site 8.9 miles down river from the Water Treatment Plant. If the expansion of the water treatment plant to 3 million gallons per day is approved, it will be putting the rivers health and the communities access to sustainable water in jeopardy.
Save Ivy River believes that expansion at the current location will result in water supply shortages for utility users and irreversible environmental impacts. The state determined back in 1993 that the current location was sufficient for drawing 3 million gallons of water per day however they did not measure water flow at the actual site and used averages 8.7 miles down river that do not account for seasonality and other critical factors. In other words we think the State was wrong. What if they were? We run the risk of spending millions of dollars to expand a plant and adding utility users to a system that cannot actually support them during dryer seasons and drought scenarios.
Ivy River Regional Water Authority (IRRWA) - Strategic Vision 2075 - We are currently formulating a proposal for consideration by all local municipalities that would position our region with a diversified, equitable, sustainable, and environmentally appropriate future. In the year 2075 this plan would position the region with a solid water system that would continue to support generations. Setting a long-term vision and making short-term decisions based on this is critical to success. Attached in the documents section further down the page is the living document. It is in draft form and is being evolved and updated continuously as new data is collected and new stakeholders engaged. Feedback or comments on the document are encouraged and welcome. Please submit to SaveIvyRiver@gmail.com
On January 24th, 2022 Weaverville Town Council passed a motion to suspend an expansion vote indefinitely (likely 9-12 months) while they perform more diligence. See PDF "Suspension of WTP Expansion Vote" below for official documents. While they are performing some of the following recommendations, we are working to ensure that all of the following are considered prior to a decision on expansion:
1. Validate that the current location can in fact sustainably provide 3 Million Gallons per Day to utility users. One step in this verification includes installation of a stream gauge at the pump-house for actual flow data (rather than using estimates from 8.7 miles downstream)
2. Verify that the current location can withdraw 3 Million Gallons per day without irreparably damaging the Rivers ecosystem. The River is home to the Eastern Hellbender and other critical species. In addition to performing these up front assessments it is necessary to perform annual environmental studies to collect and review data to determine negative effects of increased withdrawal from the Ivy on the health of the rivers ecosystem.
3. Update the emergency water management plan to enforce strict drought guidelines for withdrawal.
4. Review and consider all potential alternatives to expansion and perform the proper diligence before an expansion decision.
5. Collaborate with representation from all stakeholder groups in order to create an Ivy River strategic vision for the future that is long term focused and not short term driven.
To create a sustainable and environmentally responsible long term plan. Together we can accomplish the preservation of one of our most precious local natural habitats. Save Ivy River.com is dedicated to the conservation of local wildlife and the preservation of the Ivy River for generations to come. The website is meant to engage, educate, include, and unify our community. This is a voluntary and non-profit effort to assist in the development and execution of an Alternative Water Sources Initiative for the town of Weaverville and our surrounding partners to provide our rapidly growing population with the water it will need. The Ivy River is one of the many natural and beautiful reasons people are moving to this area, and we must preserve it for generations to come.
The Weaverville Water Treatment Plant has a current capacity of 1.5 Million gallons per day that can be taken out of the Ivy River. The town has begun the process of doubling capacity capabilities to 3 Million gallons per day. This process will take approximately five years with the first phase currently in progress. This phase includes new water flow measurements, state required and regulated habitat impact studies, and an updated engineering report which is in work. The cost has ballooned from $6.5 million USD to $13.5 million USD since the 2017 estimate causing the council to rethink the approach. https://tribpapers.com/archive/2021/10/civic/sticker-shock-catches-council-off-guard/30345/
During the late summer water level conditions are much lower than the average flow reported in most engineering reports (34.1 MGD). The increase in capacity to 3 million gallons per day equates to an estimated 17% removal of average total flow at the pump house during summer months. An attachment of multiple engineering reports that have been commissioned between 2017 and now can be found further down the page.
In the 2017 report it notes that 3 Million Gallons at 7Q10 (similar to drought conditions) Flow Rate equates to 34.5% removal of the total flow. This is misleading. Unfortunately these numbers are collected over 8.7 miles downstream at a stream gauge that does not consider the two large tributary creeks Bull creek and Gabriel's creek that flow in miles below the Weaverville pump house location on the Ivy. The average flow at the Ivy is roughly 16.27% less. That doesn’t sound like too much but when you look at the low flow in drought seasons, the capacity with expansion could be 47% of the total flow. In the 2021 WithersRavenel engineering report they list 7Q10 at 7.7 MGD and state "allocation is only 50%"!!! If we are in a severe drought the rivers health is already in peril.
While a near-term water solution may be necessary for all of the growth and development pressure occurring in our community, a much longer term consideration and approach plan is necessary to ensure sustainability for generations to come. A long-term sustainable solution to this issue may include requirements for low flow fixture usage in new construction, well installments in place of city connections, new development controls, alternative sourcing infrastructure, and etc.
in 2013, an Ivy River source water protection plan was presented. It mostly focused on the quality of the water in our river (not the impact the Water Treatment Plant had on it) however it did attempt to create a good faith agreement for ongoing conversations between community stakeholders in both Madison and Buncombe County. We have not seen any information that shows these meetings occur nor have they in some time. Let's bring them back!
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This presentation was provided by Save Ivy River to council and all attendees at the Weaverville Town Council Workshop on 10/12/2021. We did not get the opportunity to present the whole thing but we were allowed a few minutes to provide comments.
This document is the verbatim public comment made during the town council meeting on 9/27/2021. Public comments are limited to 3 minutes and the council is not required to respond or answer any questions.
This document is outdated. A new preliminary engineering report was just received by the town and as soon as that is made available it will be available for download here. While a councilman has made the comment that this has been in process for a long time it should be noted that this is a preliminary engineering report and is just the beginning of a long process for expansion. In other words, their is still time for us to consider the Alternative Water Sources Initiative.
This hellbender lives just 200 yards downstream from the Weaverville pump station. While a state protected species, the Hellbender's habitat is not protected as it is not designated as an endangered species.