Flows in the Southeast

American Rivers is working to ensure that each state throughout the southeast enacts comprehensive water allocation laws.  The water that flows through our river systems is the basis for the water supply in the region and how those flows are allocated is critical to the health of the communities and the river. 

It is critical that the allocations policy adopted in each state at a minimum includes provisions that require that all major water users (withdrawing more than 50,000 gallons per day, gpd) register their withdrawal, permits for those water users withdrawing more than 100,000 gpd, a planning mechanism based on major river basins, and  that enough clean water is left in our rivers to support healthy communities.

North Carolina and South Carolina have been suffering from a series of extreme droughts that have brought the issues of a secure clean water supply to the forefront.  The two states have also seen a boom in population growth and many major urban areas are located either on smaller rivers or in the headwaters of larger river basins.  The two states have also been litigating against each other about water use, primarily focused on a water transfer in North Carolina from the Catawba-Wateree River basin to the Yadkin-Pee Dee River basin.  

American Rivers is working in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to develop water supply legislation, policies, and funding that will protect the drinking water supplies of our communities and the rivers that provide recreational, economic, and quality of life benefits.

South Carolina

South Carolina passed a law in June 2010 that for the first time in state history requires water withdrawal permits for municipal, industrial and agricultural water use. American Rivers’ education of decision makers and leadership within the conservation community was a major factor in this landmark achievement. We are engaged with South Carolina state agencies, the business community and other conservation organizations on the rule-making resulting from this law to establish guidelines for implementing a permitting process and ensuring flow protection that will lay out rules and processes needed.

North Carolina

North Carolina is one of two states in the US that does not have a water withdrawal (or allocation) policy or water withdrawal permitting (the other state is Alabama).  North Carolina has been studying the issue since 2007 and issued a final report in 2010. In order for North Carolina to have reliable water supplies for all the various uses, a policy must be developed that balances all the competing demands for water while protecting the ecological functions of that water body.  In 2010, North Carolina took the first step by enacting policy that requires an assessment of what the state’s water availability is river basin by river basin.  The process will also determine the critical amount of water needed to keep each river system healthy.

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