The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District (PRVWSD) is preparing to dredge the Ross Barnett Reservoir. The price tag for the project has been set at $2 million. Beginning this summer, the PRVWSD will remove an estimated five feet of built-up sediment from the water.
Several channels in Pelahatchie Bay will be dredged. After that is completed the channels along Overlook Pointe to North Bay subdivision, near the Jackson Yacht Club, and Twin Harbour will be next.
“There are two revenue sources for this project,” explained PRVWSD spokesman Bobby Cleveland. “The first is a $1.5 million bond issue from the state. And that work is relegated strictly to Pelahatchie Bay, that’s why the bond was written in the Legislature. It has to be used in Rankin County and Pelahatchie Bay. We have a half a million dollars of our own funding that we’re going to use in other areas.”
In addition, the PRVWSD is soliciting bids to dredging companies. While they advertise for a contractor, they will get necessary permits from Mississippi Department of Environmental Equality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Dredging the reservoir is a necessary operation every 10 to 15 years. It is necessary to remove sediment runoff caused by erosion.
The reservoir is currently lowered to 296 feet above sea level for winterpool. When it is raised in March for summerpool, the water will rise back to 297 feet above sea level.
However, once the dredge is complete the channels’ depths will change from 297 feet above sea level to 292 feet. This is because when the sediment is removed, and the depth is increased, the water will go deeper, bringing the lake down closer to sea level.