Lake Newport Water May Go to Lake Anne

Reston Association authorizes water to flow in order to keep RELAC running.

Lake Anne-area residents who rely on RELAC for air conditioning may be getting some help from their neighbors on Lake Newport.

officials say that the levels at Lake Anne are the lowest in nearly 40 years, making it nearly an emergency situation for residents who depend on the lake water-cooled air conditioning system.

About 300 homes near historic  are cooled by RELAC (Reston Lake Anne Air Conditioning Corporation), a mandatory system that was put in place in the mid-1960s.

Lake Anne is 22 inches below normal, RA officials said.

"The water level in Lake Anne is at its lowest point in nearly 40 years as a result of the lack of rainfall this season and the 'by-right' taking of water from the lake by to maintain its golf course," RA President Ken Knueven wrote in a letter to RELAC customers. "The low level of water in Lake Anne is severely impacting the proper operation and functioning of the RELAC System."

The RA Board of Directors authorized the water transfer in a unanimous decision this week. Knueven said he is not sure whether the transfer will be necessary, but with the board's authorization it can take place if necessary.

The transfer will be a one-time event, Knueven said. The two lakes are connected and the transfer would take place by opening a valve, he said. RA officials said the water transfer has been done three times in the past.

For every four inches of drop in Lake Newport there will be approximately a 1.5- inch rise in Lake Anne.  Four inches out of Newport is about 1.25 million gallons, RA officials said.

The problem was first identified in July, when Knueven said Lake Anne levels were three feet below where they should have been. There has not been significant improvement since then.

In July, Knueven asked Hidden Creek to refrain from pumping the allotted 25 million gallons they are allotted annually from Lake Anne. He said Thursday that representatives from Hidden Creek, RA and Aqua Virginia, which operates RELAC, met and seemed to be in agreement. But more recently, more water seems to be leaving the lake, Knueven said.

To read more on this subject and some history of RELAC in Reston,

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Diane Blust September 07, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Actually, Scott, RELAC is not a "Socialized Air-Conditioning"t system. It is a for-profit utility. Perhaps, if it were truly a locally owned co-operative utility, like the one Boulder, Colorado is bringing on line (http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=17018:aug-24-2012-boulders-energy-future-news&catid=805:2012-news-releases&Itemid=5335), we would have more local control and it would probably be a better system. Small, local power plants and grids may be the wave of the future. Wouldn't it be great if Reston could lead the way to local energy independence? RELAC is ailing now, but it was a fairly unique and forward looking system when it was created in the 1960s.
Scott September 07, 2012 at 05:47 PM
uh huh...my HOA is a taxable corporation too. RELAC is owned by a private company, but as utilities of yesteryear, they are slave to the government entity they serve and cannot raise rates or increase the performance of the system without someone else approving it. RELAC is like AT&T before deregulation. 30 cents per minute, no choice, no call waiting, etc. Allow residents a CHOICE, and let the market dictate. Air Conditioning is NOT a utility. The problem with socialism is that socialists always think that despite it NEVER succeeding in the history of the world, the next attempt will be the one that succeeds.
Michael September 07, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Germany, Sweden, and Finland seem to be doing just fine with it... lower education costs, lower health care costs, higher life expectancy, similar standard of living, strong ecomonies, low structural debt.... But the fundamental problem with your argument is that you fail to distinguish between "socialism," in which the government runs it, and "monopoly capitalism," in which the company does. In this situation the revenue goes to a private company and its owners, not to any government entity. Therefore RELAC does not fit even the broadest possible definitions of socialism. It's problems come instead from misapplication of capitalism.
Barbara de Beaufort September 08, 2012 at 11:01 PM
I live on Lake Anne next to where Hidden Creek Country Club has installed their pump. I can hear when the pump is running. The pump has been running 24/7 for most of the summer. If people wonder why Lake Anne is down so low, it is because Hidden Creek has been draining the lake.
steve potts September 09, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Has anyone checked to see if there is a leak in the dam or a below water level leak in the spillway?


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