Collaboration Helps Preserve Shared Water Supply

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Stakeholder engagement and collaboration are key to Duke Energy’s success as a strong community partner and environmental steward.

The Catawba-Wateree River Basin, with 11 interconnected reservoirs and 13 hydropower stations managed by Duke Energy, provides water for nearly 2 million people and enough electricity to power about 3.7 million homes.

The most densely populated river basin in North Carolina is facing long-term challenges, with the overall water demand expected to more than double by 2065.

In response, the Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group developed a water supply master plan in 2014 to protect and extend the available water supply of the Catawba-Wateree River and its reservoirs by 50 additional years, to support economic growth into the next century.

Created in 2007 during the stakeholder process to relicense the Catawba-Wateree Hydroelectric Project, the nonprofit corporation includes Duke Energy and 18 public water utilities in North Carolina and South Carolina.

In May 2017, Duke Energy asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to amend the license for the Catawba-Wateree Hydroelectric Project to include several key provisions of the new water supply master plan. These include raising summer normal target elevations by 6 inches on three of the largest storage reservoirs – Lake James, Lake Norman and Lake Wylie – and revising the basin’s drought response protocol to allow Duke Energy’s hydro system to respond more quickly to changing drought conditions. The FERC approved the license amendment on January 22, 2018.

Raising the summer target lake levels, to be implemented following enhancements to Wateree Dam, will increase overall available storage by about 8 billion gallons, extending the water yield of the Catawba-Wateree lake system by one decade beyond current conditions.

Water is a limited and shared resource. This collaboration between Duke Energy and its regional stakeholders places the river basin’s shared water supply on a stronger foundation for decades to come.

Raising the summer target lake levels will increase overall available storage by about 8 billion gallons, extending the water yield of the Catawba-Wateree lake system by one decade.