Concord and Kannapolis have backed off.
Those two North Carolina cities have sought to draw a massive amount of water from the Catawba and Yadkin rivers, and a state board in 2007 said they could divert as much as 10 million gallons daily. That prompted a massive dispute not only in the state, but also in South Carolina, into which the Catawba/Yadkin flows.
Now it has prompted a regional settlement on the withdrawal.
The cities still will draw from the river, but no more than six million gallons ordinarily, up to nine under specific circumstances. Officials around the area decided to take the deal. [see Charlotte (NC) Observer, January 20]
The Catawba Riverkeeper, a key participant in the activity around the withdrawal, had this statement:
The main points of the agreement hinged on Concord and Kannapolis modifying their ability, contained in their IBT certificate, to withdraw 10 million gallons of water per day (MGD) from the Catawba River at all times by significantly limiting withdrawals during times of drought. The agreement limits withdrawals to 6 MGD during times of most severe drought, or “exceptional” drought; 7 MGD during “extreme” drought; 8.5 MGD during “severe” drought; and 9 MGD during “moderate” drought. Further, the agreement restricts Concord and Kannapolis from withdrawing more than 3 MGD from the Catawba until July 1, 2015, and after they first are withdrawing 5 MGD from the Yadkin River.
“When we first started this process, we identified several objectives of our efforts to protect the Catawba River. With this agreement and some key legislation regarding water transfers that resulted from our efforts, we have accomplished most of our objectives,” said Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright, speaking for the Coalition. “We can now redirect our resources, time and money to economic development and other initiatives to improve the quality of life for our residents. We remain committed to protecting the Catawba River and have been pleased with the cooperation within this Basin. We have laid the groundwork for future actions to collectively promote the interests of Catawba Valley residents.”
To put the agreement’s drought restrictions into perspective, the Catawba River basin was in “extreme” drought conditions (also referred to as Stage 3) for approximately 500 days during the most recent drought. Had Concord and Kannapolis already begun withdrawing the 10 MGD during that time, no limitations would have been placed upon that withdrawal while basin residents were forced to restrict water usage. Now, under the terms of the settlement, that same withdrawal would have been limited to the transfer of 7 MGD for the 500 day period.