Seeking to secure its customers’ drinking water needs for the next 50 years, Henrico County began planning a new water supply project in 2002. The Cobbs Creek Reservoir, located in Cumberland County, will possess a 15.5-billion-gallon raw water storage capacity within a 1,100-acre normal pool. In 2011, Schnabel commenced its role on the $280 million project, which augments the flow of the James River as needed.

In wetter months, when river flows are adequate, raw water will be pumped to the reservoir from the James River. In drier months, when flows in the James are inadequate to support regional demands, the reservoir will make controlled releases into the river. Then the water will be withdrawn 50 miles east, in Henrico County, from the James River. Simply put, the river becomes the water conveyor.

We provided full design services for the 160-foot-high, 4,750-foot-long primary embankment dam, a 30-foot-high, 800-foot-long saddle dam and associated spillway, a 155-foot-high inlet/outlet tower, an outlet works conduit, and maintenance vehicle access bridges. The construction phase started in 2017 and the reservoir is expected to be fully operational in 2024. Our services also include geotechnical engineering to support the design of the river intake, pump station, and transfer pipeline; bid support; full-time construction phase engineering; and monitoring and inspecting the dam during the first filling of the reservoir.