Local News

Little River flooded with too many possibilities

Posted July 15, 2008 7:02 p.m. EDT
Updated July 15, 2008 8:17 p.m. EDT

— Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker says a recent decision from Wake County Commissioners could put a future Triangle water source in jeopardy.

Raleigh wants to turn the Little River, located between Zebulon and Rolesville, into a 6 mile lake.

Turning the Little River into a a reservoir has been in the works for nearly two decades. When it is complete, Meeker said it could provide 17 million gallons of water a day for residents in northeast Wake County.

"It's something we really have to have along with Falls Lake and Lake Benson,” Meeker added.

Meeker said a recent unanimous decision by Wake County Commissioners not to set new limits on how many homes can be built in the area could hurt the city's chances of getting approval for the reservoir.

"While the county does have minimum standards in effect, we had hoped that they be more extensive standards,” Meeker said.

"I just felt that was asking too much of those citizens,” Commissioner Tony Gurley said of the home limits.

Gurley also said what has been approved does meet the requirements for federal and state permits.

"We don't know if it would be a stamp of approval to go above and beyond those requirements," he added. "What we do know is (it would) be requiring land owners in that area to make additional sacrifices, in the hope that this would give a guaranteed approval."

Land near the Little River is protected at the same level as land around Falls Lake. However, state environmentalists said a source of recent contamination at Falls Lake is development upstream. Another reason Meeker said he is still hoping commissioners reconsider their decision.

Commissioners may revisit the issue later on. Meeker said in the meantime, he wants to meet with mayors from other towns who could get water from the Little River.

When completed, the 1,100-acre reservoir could hold 3.5 billion gallons of water. Its dam would be 39 feet high. A water treatment plant would also be built.

At the earliest, construction for the reservoir would begin in 2016 and be completed within 30 to 36 months.