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Water Plans Could Mean Water War Over Kerr Lake

Posted March 13, 2008

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— Although it's almost 50 miles from the Triangle, Kerr Lake, in Henderson, could be a future water source for Raleigh, Cary, Durham and Granville County – much to the dismay of some who live on the lake.

"I fell in love with that lake and Roanoke River Basin resource," said Gene Addesso, who lives in Raleigh but also owns a house on the Virginia side of the lake.

Addesso also is the vice president of the Roanoke River Basin Association, a nonprofit organization that looks out for the best interests of residents who live in the Basin.

"The Roanoke River Basis is a system from the headwaters to the sound," Addesso said. "Any part of it that you affect affects another part of the system."

He says that means the lower the level of Kerr Lake, the lower the level of Lake Gaston.

That's part of why he is concerned that the Triangle communities are considering the lake and that the Army Corps of Engineers is studying how much water they could use.

"Raleigh and the surrounding area are growing quickly, and our needs may be substantial if we look down the road 30, 50 or 70 years," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said.

About 15 years ago, the Kerr Lake community was in a legal battle with the City of Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach won the lawsuit and has infrastructure that can provide a potential of up to 60 million gallons of water from the lake every day.

If Raleigh ends up using the lake, too, it would have to build the infrastructure, and that could cost more than $700 million. And that is a 2002 estimate that is likely to be higher today.

Raleigh Public Utilities Director Dale Crisp says the city would have to prove it needs the water and also prove there are enough resources that would allow for water to be pumped from the lake.

"If there's truly an unallocated water supply resource there, then I don't understand why there would be concern about it," Crisp said.

But Addesso says there's a definite concern about it – protecting the precious resource right in his own back yard.

Raleigh leaders say there's no timetable when the Army Corps of Engineers will complete its study of Kerr Lake.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Raptor06 Mar 14, 2008

    charlesboyer - you've seem to have forgotten that the FEDERAL government is US! Just like our Congressmen and women, you have forgetten that the FEDERAL government works for EACH of US...and in this case, not just Raleigh!

  • karnshbel Mar 14, 2008

    Kerr Reservoir levels affect Lake Gaston, Roanoke Rapids Lake, and the Roanoke River. People on these 3 bodies of water already deal water level issues...Kerr Reservoir should not be available to Raleigh AT ALL.

  • seeingthru Mar 14, 2008

    Golo can you plz explain why you boycott my reasonable comments. I think we should leave pristine Kerr lake alone and stop development here.

  • getrealpeople Mar 14, 2008

    The lake is filling up! What will you have to talk about then?
    Wake & Raleigh are building the Little river water supply not the Feds. Drawing from Kerr Lake will be inter basin transer. Good luck on that. They will limit the amount you can get. The new water plant drawing from Benson & Lake Wheeler will be open soon so you can water your yard too much.

  • dwntwnboy Mar 14, 2008

    All this fighting over water makes me think of the seagulls in Finding Nemo..."Mine!, Mine!, Mine!" LOL

  • Raptor06 Mar 14, 2008

    Raleigh is rapidly outgrowing its water supply. I agree with a 19 Feb 2008 letter to the editor of the Henderson newspaper that the people of the counties surrounding Kerr Lake must fight any attempts by Raleigh to obtain that water. I also feel that those counties must mobilize their economic development committees and bring businesses and jobs to those communities. Raleigh isn’t the center of this universe. Kerr Lake is surrounded by some of the poorest and crime-ridden counties in NC and are ready to work. The easy access to water and logistical support should be a major draw for businesses to those counties. I hope their leadership notes Raleigh’s first shot “across the bow” to obtain this water and impede their growth.

  • beachboater Mar 14, 2008

    Looks like Kerr Lake property owners will suffer losses in value for the betterment of Raleigh. Doesn't seem fair.

  • charlesboyer Mar 14, 2008

    "leave our water alone."

    It's amazing how many people just don't understand the law. The water is FEDERAL property, which has been spoken of ad nauseum here. Why do you think the Army Corps of Engineers allocates it? Because they are charged by the federal government to distribute that which belongs to every citizen in the United States. But hey, keep thinking it's yours exclusively.

  • Newsjunkie Mar 14, 2008

    Thanks, hpr641 for explaining the geology for me.

  • common_sense_plz Mar 14, 2008

    Now the Feds have already bought the land needed for the "little river reseviour" here in outlying area of Zebulon. this is to be another water resource for Raleigh. It is not going to be a large lake by no means, so my suggestion would be to make it bigger, deeper, and deeper than Falls. There is still plenty of land that can be bought on that side of 96hwy. I think that it is time for the feds to get started on this project, I know for a fact that this has been talked about for more than 50 years and still nothing has been done. I think after this year with the drought, they should have learned a lesson, that we need more and deeper reseviours.