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Whisky’s for Drinkin and Water’s for Fightin : The Environmentalist Perspective

Whisky’s for Drinkin and Water’s for Fightin : The Environmentalist Perspective. Rick Gaskins Executive Director Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation rick@catawbariverkeeper.org. Overview . Summary Who or what is Catawba Riverkeeper? A few basic facts. Why should we care about IBTs?

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Whisky’s for Drinkin and Water’s for Fightin : The Environmentalist Perspective

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  1. Whisky’s for Drinkin and Water’s for Fightin:The Environmentalist Perspective Rick Gaskins Executive Director Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation rick@catawbariverkeeper.org

  2. Overview Summary Who or what is Catawba Riverkeeper? A few basic facts. Why should we care about IBTs? What is the problem with IBTs? What is the solution? What are the significant aspects the settlements in the Concord-Kannapolis cases?

  3. Summary • In the East, we have always assumed that there is plenty of water, and this is built into our laws and infrastructure. • Eastern water law is based around the problem of having too much water. • Land development and agricultural practices reflect the abundance of water. • There is virtually no cost for water taken from a river or aquifer.

  4. Summary (continued) • Our current practices are stretching water resources to the limits. • IBTs are one part of the problem. • Need to create a system that: • Makes the best use of water • Keeps the eco-system healthy, by, among other things, maintaining minimum ecological flows.

  5. Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation advocates for the health, protection and enjoyment of the Catawba River watershed. Our Vision: That the waters of the entire Catawba River basin will always be of high quality and abundant quantity to sustain and enhance the lives of all the humans, the wildlife and the ecosystems that depend on it.

  6. Catawba Riverkeeper • 501(c)(3) non-profit • Not a land trust • Not Catawba Lands Conservancy • Three primary tools: • Education • Prevention • Advocacy • Party in the Concord-Kannapolis IBT litigation.

  7. Fact 1: We are running out of water Unless precipitation increases (unlikely) and/or storage increases (hard), and increased evaporative loss is insignificant (worrisome given climate trends), we face more of this in the future, and more frequently. Lake Michie, Durham County October 2007 Falls Lake December 2007 Little River, Durham County October 2007 Rocky Mount’s water reservoir September 2007

  8. Belmont public water supply intake The Catawba River supplies water to more than 50 cities, counties and industries. They depend on adequate water levels in the river and its lakes in order to provide drinking water and process water for manufacturing. Lake Wylie - Belmont, NC

  9. Rainfall Amounts Fact 2: Relatively, there is plenty of rain, but …

  10. Annual Use as Percent of Rainfall Charlotte Area Fact 3: We use over 100% of the rainfall in this area.

  11. Fact 4: Growth and water consumption in the Southeast are expected to continue to increase. Water consumption in the Southeast grew 15% from 1990 to 2000, compared with 2% nationwide. The population rose by 20% from 1990 to 2000 vs.13% in the rest of the country. By 2030, daily water use in NC will increase by 35%. Projected growth in the Southeast from 1990 to the near future. US EPA

  12. Fact 5: Most of our growth in in the Southeast is in areas lacking water storage A huge percentage of the South’s population, growth and economic prospects lies in the piedmont . . . . . . a region with good average precipitation, but small streams and low yields from groundwater . Result: low resilience; high susceptibility to drought; almost certain escalation in conflict over water unless growth stops.

  13. Fact 6: TheYadkin-Pee Dee basin has almost twice the natural surface water supply per person as the Catawba. Kannapolis Concord

  14. Fact 7: Many large cities in this area straddle two basins and thus transfer water from one basin to the other. Statesville Mooresville Charlotte

  15. Goose Creek Six Mile Creek Catawba Yadkin Carolina heelsplitter: Endangered Species of Freshwater Mussel

  16. Fact 8: Conflict will increase. Water consumption in NC ?

  17. Recent conflict over water quantity in NC Litigation over releases from Randleman Lake Land use issues around proposed Little River reservoir Va Beach transfer from Roanoke Fight over new Boone intake Eno voluntary CUA Disagreements over Kerr water supply Central coastal plain CUA TVA lake level issues Concern about inflows and intakes around Falls Lake Cone of depression in lower Cape Fear Concern about Atlanta’s water needs Litigation over IBT to Concord/Kannapolis Intake and allocation disputes at Lake Jordan Fight over Alcoa dams on Yadkin 401 cert. litigation on Yadkin/Pee Dee Progress dams

  18. Fact 9: IBTs are only one part of the problemNet Use of Water in the Catawba Basin Industrial 2% Public Water Supply 32% Power plant Cooling 48% Agricultural 18% 2007 Data from Duke Power

  19. Why should we care about IBTs? Aggravates Drought Conditions. Favors growth in the receiving basin at the expense of the source basin. Fuels sprawl. Threatens environment, including numerous aquatic species.

  20. Why should we care about IBTs? Decrease in quantity increases concentrations of pollutants discharged to the source water. Increased reliance on one source (e.g., Mtn. Island Lake) increases susceptibility to disruptions to supply

  21. Why should we care about IBTs? Can lead to saltwater intrusion problems and other unintended consequences downstream.

  22. What is the solution? • Better Science • Establish baseline ecological flows. • Determine how much water is currently being used, where it is taken out, where it is returned, and how much is returned. • Develop better models. • Price incentives for conservation and wise water use. • Legal system that treats water as a scarce resource. • All water uses need to be on the table. No use should be exempt.

  23. What are the significant aspects the settlements in the Concord-Kannapolis cases? • Limits on withdrawals from the Catawba. • Must get water from the Yadkin basin first. • In times of drought, must take greater cuts. • Must implement water conservation incentives and practices. • Independent verification and oversight. • Settlement between NC & SC • Increases role to Bi-State Commission. • Limits ability of states to roll-back prior IBT and water management legislation.

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