Public Asked To Weigh In On Future Of Jordan Lake

Mar 22, 2016

Credit Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The state is asking the public to weigh in on how Jordan Lake's water will be divvied up for the next 30 years.

Jordan Lake can supply about a 100 million gallons of drinking water a day. Right now, Triangle communities are sucking up 63 percent of that supply. But the region is growing, and a draft recommendation from the Division of Water Resources would allocate about 96 percent of the supply by 2045.

This table from the DWR draft recommended allocations shows how much each community would receive by 2045, compared to current allocations.
Credit North Carolina Division of Water Resources

The recommendation would give most of the supply increase to Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Research Triangle Park, Chatham County, Durham and Raleigh.

The report says the DWR made the draft allocations based on each community's application and estimates for population growth. Fayetteville is the only community whose request for a portion of water was denied in the recommendation.

DWR says the draft allocation recommendations would mean 40 percent of the water supply pool would be diverted from the Cape Fear River Basin, which Jordan Lake lies within. State law requires less than 50 percent of water be diverted from the river basin. Many communities downstream rely on the river basin for their drinking water.

Don Betz, Executive Director of the Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority, says he's concerned the plan sets the "safe yield" too low. The safe yield is the amount of water flowing in the river required to maintain a healthy river habitat and water supply.

"It can affect the availability of raw water for the treatment plants and consequently for the people of Southeastern North Carolina," Betz said.

Public hearings well be held at 4:30 Tuesday afternoon at Chatham Community Library in Pittsboro and at 4:00 Wednesday in at the New Hanover County Government Center in Wilmington.