In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) regulations, 18 CFR Part 380 (Order No. 486, 52 F.R. 47897), the Office of Energy Projects has reviewed the application for license for the Catawba-Wateree Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2232), located on the Catawba River in the counties of Burke, McDowell, Caldwell, Catawba, Alexander, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Lincoln, and Gaston in North Carolina, and the counties of York, Lancaster, Chester, Fairfield, and Kershaw in South Carolina, and has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (draft EIS) for the project. In addition to, or in lieu of, sending written comments, all interested individuals, organizations, and agencies are invited to attend one or more of the meetings. The agency meeting will focus on resource agency and non-governmental organization.
Backwards Water Management Plans Exacerbate the Drought and Effects of Climate Change
Washington- While the entire Southeastern United States is in the grips of a historic drought, lawmakers in the Carolinas seem to think closing their eyes to the problem makes it go away. Instead of embracing year round conservation policies, decision makers in both states seem dead set on employing backward thinking, and sucking their rivers dry, in a misguided attempt to continue out of control development. Lawmakers in the Carolina's are among the first to reach this ominous fork in the road, and the direction they choose to take will affect water policy in the Southeast for generations to come.
While the entire region suffers from water mismanagement, the outdated policies currently threatening the Catawba-Wateree River are especially egregious. Unless immediate changes are implemented, the river that provides drinking water for millions of people, pumps tens of millions of dollars into local economies, and is directly responsible for thousands of jobs could be irreparably damaged; and the communities that depend on it will suffer. Facing problems like these, it's no wonder the Catawba-Wateree has been named America's Most Endangered River.
"People across America should look at what's happening on the Catawba-Wateree as a preview of coming attractions, and this movie isn't a comedy, it's a horror film," said Rebecca Wodder, President of American Rivers. "It's time for the Southeast, and all of America, to adopt 21st century policies that make our communities more resilient in the face of global climate change."
The population explosion in the Charlotte region has left decision makers in both North and South Carolina flummoxed when it comes to water policy. Neither state has anything that resembles a sustainable long term water plan. Conservation measures are only implemented after things get bad, not year round. For example, in January 2007, regulators in North Carolina authorized stealing 10 million gallons a day from the Catawba, instead of curing the disease of wasteful water policy. Some of this stolen water will go to a misguided plan to build a new water park in the city of Concord.
The South Carolina Attorney General responded by petitioning the US Supreme Court to halt the water transfer and assure equitable allocation of this interstate river. "We need a real water policy that relies on common sense thinking, not theft as its main component," said David Merryman from the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation. "Thou shall not steal was one of the first lessons I learned growing up, apparently our leaders didn't."
Lake Wateree Sampling and Historic Water Quality - a Cooperative Exercise between Water Watch and USC
Since the summer of 2008, the Water Watch Advisory Committee (WWAC), commonly known as WaterWatch, has functioned as a liaison between Wateree Homeowner's Association (WHOA), the Lake Wateree Association (LWA) and the University of South Carolina (USC) in collaboration with faculty and graduate students from across campus (including the School of Public Health, the Department of Biological Sciences and the Earth Sciences and Resources Institute in the School of the Environment) to monitor the water quality and assess the health of Lake Wateree.
Donna Lisenby, our Catawba Riverkeeper, was notified today about the exciting news below that communicates the key decision that the United States Supreme Court will hear the South Carolina case on fair water allocation between the two states for the common source of the Catawba-Wateree. I also would like to express "THANKS" to all around Wateree who wrote letters, attended public hearings, made calls, etc. that provided the public support that gave the SC Attorney General full assurance that (1) this was an extremely critical water issue, and (2) the people expected action to protect our water rights.
We have no way to predict how this may end, but we should feel extremely gratified on this decision. The power of the people and the importance of a large, strong lake team membership has once again demonstrated its importance.