NC Division of Water Resources

The Tuckasegee River at Bryson City, North Carolina.
Brian Stansberry, Wikimedia, Creative Commons

North Carolina is not keeping up with the Environmental Protection Agency's rules to measure water quality. 

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources has not updated its standards of measuring toxic metals in water since 2007.  The Clean Water Act requires states to hold public hearings and review their rules every three years.  North Carolina is the only state in the EPA's southeast division that has not adopted the latest federal rules. 

State drought map. Yellow counties are abnormally dry, tan counties are moderately dry.
State Division of Water Resources

North Carolina’s drought conditions are better than they were one year ago. Last April, 53 counties were experiencing a moderate drought – the lowest of the four drought categories. This year only eight of the state’s 100 counties are currently receiving that classification.

Coastal plain counties where the groundwater is improving.
NC Division of Water Resources

Officials with the state Division of Water Resources say a new report shows great improvement in groundwater levels over a 15-county area in eastern North Carolina. According to state officials, deep-well, freshwater aquifers in the coastal plain have to stay above full capacity to keep from mixing with saltwater.  If they were to mix, cities would have to spend money to filter out saltwater to make their water is safe to drink.

State officials are encouraging people in the Roanoke River Basin to attend public hearings on water usage. The state is holding a series of meetings focusing on the quantity of water needed to support population growth over the next few decades. Steve Reid works for the State Division of Water Resources. He says the river and its tributaries are used for everything from drinking water to recreational boating: