The state’s Division of Water Resources is holding two forums to discuss Jordan Lake water supply recommendations and how they’ll affect water availability in the Cape Fear River basin through 2045.
The first forum, on Tuesday, March 22, will begin at 4:30 p.m. at the Chatham Community Library, 197 N.C. 87 North, Pittsboro. The second will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, in the New Hanover County Government Center in Wilmington.
The recommendations from the N.C. Environmental Management Commission allow Triangle communities 96 percent of the lake’s supply, according to a news release. Jordan Lake is the largest source of water for Triangle municipalities.
Proposed recommendations for allocating the water, according to the release, are: Cary, Apex, Morrisville and Wake County, 46.2 percent; Chatham County, 13 percent; Durham, 16.5 percent; Holly Springs, 2 percent; Hillsborough, 1 percent; Orange Water and Sewer Authority, 5 percent; Orange County, 1.5 percent; Pittsboro, 6 percent; and Raleigh 4.7 percent.
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Sarah Young, spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Quality, said in an email that residents can offer input and concerns about the allocations and how they were developed. Community input, she said, “may suggest the need for additional analysis and better explanations in the (recommendations’) final documents.”
The issue of Jordan Lake’s water supply has been ongoing for the Triangle and communities south of the region.
Communities and farmers in the southeastern part of the state have said they’re worried about where that water will go once it’s discharged. Apex and Cary were granted a permit in March 2015 by the Environmental Management Commission allowing the municipalities to draw 33 million gallons per day from Jordan Lake through 2045 and return only 2 million gallons of that into the Cape Fear River Basin, where Jordan Lake lies. The rest is allowed to be discharged east into the Neuse River Basin.
The state told those who raised concerns about drought and damage to the agricultural industry that the state’s water use projections showed those concerns were unfounded.
Fayetteville, Apex and Cary entered mediation in February after Fayetteville filed a legal challenge with the state’s environmental regulatory agency to contest the permit. The meetings are scheduled ahead of an April deadline for the continuation of that hearing.
Young said the issues involved with legal challenge is unrelated to what will be discussed at the forums.
Comments on the draft documents can be submitted by May 18 by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Jordan Lake Comments, Division of Water Resources, 1611 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1611.
Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan
Read more about the state’s water plan.