Jordan Lake

Jordan Lake Fall 2


Our Drinking Water At Risk

Located in the Cape Fear River Basin, Jordan Lake is the water supply source for western Wake County residents, serving the communities of Cary, Apex and Morrisville, as well as the Research Triangle Park. Chatham, Durham and Harnett Counties, also within the Cape Fear River Basin, are experiencing dramatic growth similar to Wake. Most of Jordan Lake is situated in Chatham County, one of the fastest growing counties in the state.

Why is Jordan Lake in trouble?

Population and economic growth in the Jordan Lake watershed threaten its uses as a regional drinking water supply, recreational resource, and aquatic habitat due to increases in nutrient pollution resulting from that growth. Jordan Lake was added to the federal list of “impaired waters” in 2002, for high levels of chlorophyll A and high alkalinity. This designation under the Clean Water Act requires the state to prepare a plan to restore the lake’s health by reducing pollution. Thus the state developed a cleanup plan, called the Jordan Lake rules, involving stakeholders in more than 30 meetings over three years to consider their concerns.

Delayed Action

Unfortunately, in 2016 legislation was approved which freeze the rules indefinitely while they are renegotiated from scratch. That new stakeholder process is ongoing, and aims to have new rules adopted by the end of 2018. WakeUP is following that process and continuing to work with municipalities to encourage stormwater ordinances that protect and restore our water systems.

You can read more information about Jordan Lake here.


Jordan Lake in the News:

With Jordan Lake experiment, NC steps into uncharted water

Pumps won’t clean up Jordan Lake

WakeUP 2014 Water Quality Series: Clean Water, More Valuable than Oil: State Actions Affecting Your Water:

Amy PickleDirector of State Policy Program, Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Dr. JoAnn BurkholderDirector of the Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology, NC State University 

Peter RaabeSoutheast Director of Government Relations, American Rivers

WakeUP’s comments to the Jordan Lake Legislative Review Committee on April 16, 2014:

WakeUP’s comments



“Good clean water. We all need it and assume it will always be available.


In January 2014, my hometown in Charleston, West Virginia woke to a terrible odor coming from the water. 7500 gallons of crude MCHM had leaked into the Elk and Kanawha Rivers. Within hours, over 700 people developed health issues and a state of emergency was declared. Bottled water was provided, but for months West Virginians lived in fear and the economy came to a screeching halt.


Loose environmental guidelines, lack of inspections and a short-sighted mentality that this could never happen meant my hometown lived the nightmare of no clean water. I worry that one day we might wake up to a contaminated Jordan Lake, and our lives will no longer be the same. By not implementing the Jordan Lake clean water rules, our General Assembly is taking the short term view that everything is fine, but our water is already polluted.


The time is now. Future generations of Wake County Citizens are depending on us doing the right thing. We must take a long term view of smart growth and proactive measures to preserve our water supply in Wake County.”  – Steve Rao