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,