Local News

Water Woes Leave Wilson Wanting

Posted May 4, 1998

— People can't survive without water, and neither can one town's economy. The city of Wilson is suffering for a lack of water, and the drought is already withering new businesses prospects.

Fresh water is something people really don't appreciate until they lack it. The city of Wilson is lacking water, and it needs a solution soon. Every day, the town exceeds its standard water limit by 2 million gallons. Deputy City Manager Charles Pittman says Wilson is headed for trouble.

"There's a shortage there," says "That's exactly where the city is working from, trying to overcome that draught."

Construction crews are expanding Buckhorn reservoir now, but 400 acres in Johnston County that would have been included are off limits. Monday, a judge upheld claims that Wilson cannot condemn land in Johnston County.

Wilson says it will fight that ruling because the land is crucial to keeping and attracting business. Since 1994, 10 prospective businesses have chosen other towns over Wilson because the water supply wasn't abundant.

"More importantly, Wilson has a number of existing industries that depend on the water supply, so you limit their growth," says Jennifer Lantz, executive director of economic development.

In the past two years, the city has lured large operations to its industrial park near Interstate-95, but it wants to attract more. Without a reliable water source Wilson could see a repeat of 1993 when the city's resources came dangerously close to drying up.

"We were within a day of telling some of those industries that they were going to have to shut down," says Lantz. "So, Wilson's water needs are extremely crucial at this point in time."


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