Water Wars

Published 1:22 pm Thursday, November 19, 2009

There are reasons why people have a desire to live in rural northeastern North Carolina.

Clean air, less noise, low crime and an abundance of water are among those reasons.

The latter may become a battleground….again.

Twelve years ago, Virginia Beach finally prevailed in a lengthy court battle and earned the right to stick a big straw into Lake Gaston. Faced with overdevelopment and without a rock solid infrastructure plan to handle that growth, Virginia Beach spent hundreds of millions of dollars to quench their growing thirst thanks to a pipeline, one permitted to pump 60 million gallons per day (MGD), to the beachside resort from Lake Gaston.

Who’s next in line?

We don’t know the answer to that question, but we’re sure other large metropolitan areas are studying ways to tap into the abundance of water found in northeastern North Carolina.

The Kerr Lake Regional Water System wants to increase their currently authorized transfer of water from 10 to 24 MGD and to further transfer 2.4 MGD to the Neuse River Basin.

There is also a request on the table, one pitched by the cities of Raleigh and Durham and Granville County, for a Water Storage Allocation equal to 50 MGD.

Who’s to say those requests will not be granted.

Who’s to say that some other big city in the region wants to join the list of those needing water.

And that’s our water…that’s our ace in the hole when it comes to attracting residential and commercial growth.

We need a powerful ally to protect our natural resources. One such entity is the Roanoke River Basin Coalition. They stand opposed to any inter-basin transfer of water that will have a negative impact on the people of the basin.

Bertie County’s Board of Commissioners has already joined; Northampton County’s elected leaders have it under consideration.

The cost of membership is unimportant; ditto for future funding requests. We must stand united and protect our precious water supply, no matter if that price is $50, $500 or $5,000.