Are we running out of water?
In the winter of 2007-08, eastern Wake County, including Raleigh, nearly ran out of water. Due to the geography and geology of the Piedmont region – even with good average rainfall – we have low water resilience. Water does not last because of small streams, permeable soils, and little freshwater storage capacity. Changing weather patterns (due to global climate change or natural circumstances) can quickly reduce area rainfall, leaving the Piedmont at serious risk. Unless stronger actions are taken, demand for drinking water in Raleigh and Eastern Wake County will exceed supply by 2060, given projected growth (Raleigh Water Resource Assessment 2014).
Where does your drinking water come from?
The majority of Wake County residents get their water from Falls Lake and Jordan Lake, which were created for flood control, recreation, wildlife habitat, and drinking water. Man-made reservoirs like Falls Lake rely largely on local rainfall to maintain adequate lake levels for municipal water supply, and to provide sufficient river flows downstream. Falls and Jordan Lakes are polluted and are filling up with sediment, as a result of development, agriculture and more.
Is your drinking water in danger?
In addition to water quantity, water quality is a significant concern for Wake County’s water supply. Contamination from automobile fluids, pesticides, fertilizers, sediment, pet waste, and litter, as well as discharges from sewage treatment plants and industry, pollutes our local water supplies.
The situation is getting worse as development increases the amount of urban, road, and agricultural runoff into streams feeding the reservoirs. Wastewater discharges and contaminated stormwater runoff have resulted in both Falls Lake and Jordan Lake being added to North Carolina’s list of impaired waters.
WakeUP advocates for long-term water supply planning, year-round water conservation measures, and a fair way to pay for the high costs of future infrastructure needed for water supply and wastewater treatment. New development and those moving here should pay their fair share for these infrastructure expenses. Plentiful, clean water is among the assets that will help keep Wake County healthy and competitive for the future.
Read more about water quality and supply here.