Water: A Shared Resource
Water is vital to Duke Energy and the communities we serve. We use water to drive turbines at hydroelectric plants and for cooling at our fossil and nuclear power plants. These water resources also support public water systems, industries, recreation and wildlife.
Demand for water continues to rise. Unfortunately, water supplies are finite, and opportunities to develop additional resources are limited. As a result, Duke Energy continues to work with government, community and private-sector partners to effectively manage water resources in the following three areas:
Managing Water Supplies
- The Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group (WMG) is a nonprofit corporation comprising Duke Energy Carolinas and 17 public water system owners in the Catawba-Wateree River Basin. In early 2010, this group won a matching research grant from the Water Research Institute to explore ways to enhance water supplies in the basin.
- As part of our Keowee-Toxaway Hydroelectric Project relicensing efforts, we are assessing how the operation of our Oconee Nuclear Station impacts water resources in the Upper Savannah River Basin and how we might improve water supply in this region.
- Duke Energy provided valuable leadership during the stakeholder negotiation process associated with the South Carolina Surface Water Withdrawal Permitting legislation. This pending legislation will require most surface water intake owners to obtain a permit from the state environmental permitting agency before withdrawing water, helping ensure future water use is appropriately allocated.
Managing Water Demand
- The Catawba-Wateree WMG commissioned a survey of demand-management best practices across the U.S. Survey results will be used to identify measures that could be implemented by public water systems in the basin.
- Duke Energy and the Catawba-Wateree WMG are jointly funding a three-year study by N.C. State University to assess “smart” irrigation technologies that could help lakeside residents better manage their lawn watering systems.
- The Catawba-Wateree Low Inflow Protocol, established during Duke Energy’s efforts to relicense its Catawba-Wateree Hydroelectric Project, helps the company and other major water users in the basin conserve water supplies during droughts. This protocol is being implemented on a voluntary basis until a new license is issued and evaluated for potential improvements, based on lessons learned during the recent record-breaking drought.
Work continues on installation of a network of gauges in the Catawba-Wateree Basin to improve our understanding of how groundwater affects surface water availability during droughts.