In 1956, the General Assembly of the state of South Carolina created the Woodruff Roebuck Water District (WRWD) with the mission in mind to provide quality water to the people of the town of Woodruff.
To quickly and efficiently fulfill the intended mission of the General Assembly, the Board of Commissioners of the Woodruff Roebuck Water District entered into an agreement with the Spartanburg Water System to purchase water from their system to distribute to the town of Woodruff. Although this has been an effective method of securing water for many years, the growth of the town, coupled with the increasing expense of the water, sparked the Board of Commissioners and the executive staff of Woodruff Roebuck Water District to explore additional avenues for providing water to its customers.
In the year 2000, General Manager Curt Dillard asked the Board of Commissioners to approve a study to determine how best to ensure the future water needs of the district. With the Spartanburg Water System contract set to expire in 2013, it seemed prudent to begin the planning process. The board unanimously agreed and commissioned a study by the engineering firm of Black and Veatch.
The 2001 study presented by Black and Veatch suggested that WRWD can improve both the security and efficiency of its water supply system by leaving its current out-sourcing method. Furthermore, WRWD would be able to provide a more economical as well as a more environmentally friendly solution that would provide ample water to meet forecasted future needs.
The study recommended the building of a reservoir as the best solution for the needs of the Woodruff Roebuck Water District. The Commission intently reviewed the report and voted to adopt Black and Veatch’s recommendation of building a reservoir to be located on Ferguson Creek.
In planning and committing to a proprietary solution, the WRWD leadership realized that there were many potential hurdles to overcome. Through the permitting process, great care must be taken to assure local resident and political support. Also, from an environmental perspective, careful attention to detail must be taken to preserve current natural resources and avoid any environmental issues. Both efforts require sound and thoughtful planning and constant communication.
Some of the highlights of the Black and Veatch study include:
- Based on the 50-year forecast of growth for the district, it will not be in the best interest of your customers to depend solely on Spartanburg Water District.
- Spartanburg Water System can not meet the projected demand nor guarantee affordable water in the future for your customers.
- After significant study, one potential long-term solution would be the construction of a reservoir within the water district on Ferguson Creek.
- A team of dedicated professionals believe this to be the most efficient and environmentally friendly option. And best of all, no single family homes would be impacted.
- Information has been provided to each landowner that would be impacted and in-person discussions are being scheduled.
- The approval and permitting process for such a project this is very extensive and can take several years to complete. Federal, state and local agencies will investigate this project in great detail and, public notices and meetings will be conducted.
- Anticipated length of time to obtain permit approval and complete reservoir construction – seven (7) years.
By 2007, the process of permitting, designing and constructing a reservoir for the residents of Woodruff was well underway. In addition to the engineering firm of Black and Veatch, WRWD is being assisted by Environmental Consultant, Thomas "Tommy" Craig. Tommy has successfully guided more than twenty (20) reservoir projects through the complicated permitting processes. Tommy is considered the foremost environmental/water expert in the southeastern region of the country when it comes to matters involving water resources.
Another strong advocate of the reservoir development is Eco-South - the number one firm this side of the Mississippi for environmental issues. They have more experience in this arena than any other environmental firm available. Eco-South is convinced that the Ferguson Creek option will have the least environmental impact and in fact actually should have quite minimal impact.
As your commissioners, your neighbors, and fellow residents of this beautiful area we call home, we are determined to look out for our growing water needs as well as for this beautiful environment. A safe, efficient water supply is paramount to sustain our way of life, our industry and to attract businesses to our area.
We must provide for our future water needs, our lives depend on it.
We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.
--- Jacques Yves Cousteau