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State Leaders Looking Into Their Role in Dealing With the Drought

Posted January 20, 2008
Updated January 21, 2008

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— 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.

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  • MajorLeagueinfidel Jan 22, 2008

    If someone ran a business like the politicians run our Government they would be out of business. There's was zero long term planning involved in this....and yes you can forsee droughts and worse case scenarios...they sat on their hands for so long to not alienate voters instead of calling early on for water restrictions and finding a solution. How is it that Cary NC which is growing like crazy found and arranged for huge water source in advance. Dig out Falls Lake, increase it's capacity, cut the building permits and get back to work...

  • jsanders Jan 21, 2008

    The reason this is such a critical issue now is because water provision has been removed from market forces by government, and weather events have been such that we are in a "Tragedy of the Commons" scenario:
    www.johnlocke.org/news_columns/display_story.html?id=4433

  • oldrebel Jan 21, 2008

    First off, a moratorium on further out of basin transfers. An area's growth should be limited by their own water, not water from another basin. Secondly, growth is not the "magic" cure all. Control growth. Control waste. If we don't grow by leaps and bounds, that's fine. Maintaining what we have is far better than over reaching and then losing it all because there is no quality of life..and that's where less and less water for more and more growth is going to carry us. Bythen the builders and developers will be gone, and those of us who bought into the "growth dream" will be catching dew drops in our big pretty new plastic containers. What a vision of the future for the area.

  • WHEEL Jan 21, 2008

    Typical senario; 1) Public Hearings, 2)Study Comissions, 3)appoint Committees, 4) Fact Finding Meetings, Whoops !! 08 Elections comming up, too busy now, New Administration, repeat steps 1 through 4 . Conclusion not enough resourses to tackle the problem without tax increases.

  • bobbyj Jan 21, 2008

    it is a little too late to be proactive. The facy is there is not real issue other then too many people drinking from the same source. Raleigh area needs more water coming from something other then Falls Lake.

    Funny how last year when we had a surplus of 10 inches in December but come Jan. 1 we turned it back to square. But for some reason that id d not happen this year. Drought is media driven.

  • nc resident Jan 21, 2008

    You can't fool Mother Nature...so, SC is suing NC for stealing water meant for them.....interesting

  • justjean Jan 21, 2008

    There are several public hearings being held around the state on water conservation. The next hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 23 at Raleigh's Legislative Office Building at 7 p.m.

    Be there! As soon as people realize that government is of the people, for the people and by the people and step out of their complancency and take an active role then something will be accomplished. Otherwise you leave the decisions to those we have elected, and we all know how that can turn out.

  • shine Jan 21, 2008

    I wish these people would get off the politically correct band wagon and actually do something about the water issue. The tax payers knew it was a problem forth coming six months ago - The elected ego's just figured it out.