The Dan River Basin Association (DRBA), in partnership with Henry County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation Tourism Division worked with Dominion Virginia Power to facilitate a temporary modification to the generation schedule at Philpott dam on the Smith River.
Dominion will modify the schedule to allow for hydro power generation on Saturday and Sunday through December, 2015. This economic development action will boost recreation on the Smith River while continuing to supply customer demands for hydro power.
In cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, an agreement was reached to adjust the power generation schedule to include weekends through the end of December. This schedule will allow boaters to access sections of river that historically are not utilized for paddling during the weekends due to lower water levels. Additional flows through the weekend will also provide for more consistent temperatures which can be beneficial to the fishery. This is the first step in working with all the key stakeholders to fully utilize the Smith River as an economic engine for Henry County and to boost tourism in the region.
The hydro power operations at Philpott Lake are primarily utilized for "peak power" needs and as a result, the bulk of power generation is scheduled from Monday through Friday when demands are higher. DRBA has been working with stakeholder groups to gain support for weekend generation for over 7 years and today's announcement reflects the historic nature of the partnerships that made this decision possible.
Efforts to develop a permanent generation schedule are underway, and the project timeline is two years. Currently, no formal decisions have been made to water releases and discussion continues by those responsible for implementation.
Outreach for public and community groups input is scheduled to occur in the fourth quarter of 2016 and in the first quarter of 2017.
Find out more about DRBA by visiting www.danriver.org.