Lake Anna

Lake_Anna_2Lake Anna is one of the largest freshwater inland lakes in Virginia, covering an area of 13,000 acres (53 km²), and located 72 miles (116 km) south of Washington, D.C. in Louisa and Spotsylvania counties (and partially in Orange County at the northern tips). The lake is easily accessible from Richmond and Charlottesville, and is one of the most popular recreational lakes in the state.

The reservoir is formed by the North Anna Dam on the North Anna River at 38°00′47″N 77°42′46″W. In 1968, Virginia Electric and Power Company (now Dominion) purchased 18,000 acres (73 km²) of farmlands in three counties along the North Anna and Pamunkey Rivers to provide clean, fresh water to cool the nuclear power generating plants at the North Anna Nuclear Generating Station adjacent to the lake. By 1972 the lake bottom was cleared of all timber and the dam was nearing completion. It was projected to take three years to completely fill the lake, but with the additional rainfall from Hurricane Agnes, the lake was full in only 18 months. The first communities broke ground at about that same time and now some 120 different communities dot the shores of the lake. In March 1986, construction on the dam’s 1 megawatt hydroelectric power plant began and the two generators went into commercial operation in December 1987.

Lake Anna is approximately 17 miles (27 km) long from tip to tip, with some 200 miles (300 km) of shoreline. The lake is divided into two sides: the public side (also known as the “cold” side) and the private side (also known as the “hot” side). The public side is roughly 9,000 acres (36 km²), while the private side is roughly 4,000 acres (16 km²). The private side is formed of three main bodies of water, connected by navigable canals. The public and private sides are divided by three stone dikes. The private side has no marinas or public access ramps; only property owners and North Anna Power Station employees have access to the waters of the private side. The public side has several marinas and boat launches, including a boat ramp at the state park. The public side sees significantly higher boat traffic than the private side, especially on summer weekends.
Lake_Anna_4The public side is known as the “cold” side because it provides water to cool the generators at the power plant; the private or “hot” side receives warm water discharge from the power plant. The private side can be substantially warmer than the public side, especially near the discharge point, where it can be too hot for swimming. The private side has an extended water sports season. Some water circulates back out of the private side into the public side through underground channels; consequently, the public side is warmer in the southern area near the dam. In the winter, some fish migrate to these warmer waters.
Preliminary steps toward the addition of a third reactor have raised protests from environmentalists and property owners, who fear an increase in the water temperature and a decrease in the water level, particularly on the private side. According to Dominion, the water discharged from the plant is usually about 14 degrees F warmer than the intake water.

(From Wikipedia)