South Fork Rivanna Reservoir

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Bodor

Click the image above for a South Fork Rivanna Reservoir Information Sheet

The South Fork Rivanna Reservoir, located off Route 29 north of Charlottesville on the South Rivanna River, was constructed and began storing water in 1966. The reservoir was constructed to be the largest raw water source for the urban community area. The reservoir has a drainage area of 259.1 square miles and a surface area of 366 acres and a useable volume measured in 2002 of  800 million gallons. Two major streams, the Mechums River and Moormans River are tributaries to this reservoir. The dam height is 60 feet with the normal pool level at 382 feet. Surface area of the permanent water pool is 366 acres. The dam was retrofitted to include a 958 kilowatt hydropower plant in 1983.  This hydropower plant is currently not operable, but an evaluation resulted in a board decision to decommission the plant for economic and operational reasons. This reservoir is the raw water source for the South Rivanna Water Treatment Plant.

This reservoir is very popular both for canoeing and kayaking and is also known for its excellent fishing. Both swimming and gasoline motor boating are prohibited since this reservoir is a community raw water supply.

We are proud to partner with the men’s and women’s UVA Championship Rowing team and the Rivanna Rowing Club. Since 1989, we have worked closely with the team to allow the necessary access to the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir and continually coordinate on ways to minimize impacts from the use of their gas-powered motor boats. “The UVA women’s and men’s rowing team plus the Rivanna Rowing Club appreciate RWSA’s willingness to allow this permit. [It] is an essential component to achieving success.” –Kevin Sauer, Head Coach

South Rivanna Spillway

South Rivanna Spillway


map of the South Rivanna urban water service area

Map of the urban area served by the South Rivanna Water Treatment Plant