State Leaders Looking Into Their Role in Dealing With the Drought
Posted January 20, 2008
Updated January 21, 2008
Raleigh, N.C. — With water sources drying up around the state, leaders are considering whether they should have more say in how communities share water.
“The rivers don't flow according to geographic boundaries,” said Rep. Lucy Allen, D-Franklin County.
Allen said water allocation is a touchy subject. Trying to convince an area to give away some of its water can create conflict.
“It absolutely is a potentially divisive issue and that's one of the things we want to do is to avoid the water war that some states are facing now,” Allen said.
The Environmental Review Commission is looking into water allocation. The Joint Legislative Commission on Land and Water Conservation, which Allen co-chairs, is also starting a yearlong study of the state's water problems.
“We're not at the point yet of having the state regulate water. We are at the point of having the state look at water policy, look at planning,” Allen said.
The issue of water allocation doesn't stop at the state border, either. Last year, South Carolina filed a federal lawsuit against North Carolina. The suit challenged a decision to pipe in 10 million gallons of water a day to help areas near Charlotte. That case is still pending.
In the meantime, state leaders said that with a growing population, they need to be proactive.
“We're looking for answers. The state is looking for answers,” Allen said.
There are several public hearings being held around the state on water conservation. The next hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at Raleigh's Legislative Office Building at 7 p.m.