Regulations & Guidance

The N.C. Division of Water Resources operates under a variety of legislative mandates that include a wide range of activities.   The duties of the Division include protecting streams from growth, evaluating water project impacts on the waters of the State and keeping records of water users in the State, providing technical assistance to water systems and planning for development of water supplies.  The N.C. statutory mandates have been organized according to function.

Note: The statutes cited here are unofficial copies of the actual statutes, and are provided solely for the sake of convenience.  The official versions are available at the following locations:
(Link to N.C. General Statutes)
(Link to N.C. Administrative Code)


Databases

Water Resource Database Management G.S. 143-355(b)(12), (k)
Maintain climatological and water resources records as a source of public information.
Investigations of Water Supplies G.S. 143-355(j)
Investigate water supplies and water powers, prepare and maintain an inventory of water resources and promote their development.

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Development

Water Powers G.S. 113-16
Cooperate with the federal government regarding water powers.
Interstate Waters G.S. 113-17
Make agreements with the federal government regarding interstate waters.
Examination of Local Water Supplies G.S. 113-20
Cooperate with counties and cities in examining their natural resources and in locating water supplies.
Federal Water Resources Development Projects G.S. 143-215.38 through .43
Encourage development of river, harbor and flood control projects and other civil works projects that will benefit counties, municipalities or regions of the State.  Assure local cooperation.  Allow localities and the State to cooperate with federal water resources agencies.  Permit acquisition of lands for water projects.
Grants for Water Resources Development Projects G.S. 143-215.70 through .73
Provide grant money to local governments for a variety of water resource projects, including navigation, recreation, water management, stream restoration, protection of private beaches with public access and aquatic weed control.
An expanded unofficial version of this statute is available at this location: pdf version of the statute
Additional information concerning development grants is available at this location: pdf version of subchapter2-G
Water Supply Storage G.S. 143-354(a)(11)
Assign to local governments State water supply storage in federal projects.
Plan for Long Range River Preservation and Development G.S. 143-355(b)(2)
Initiate, plan and execute a long-range program for the preservation, development and improvement of rivers, harbors and inland ports and promote the public interest.
Recommend River Preservation Legislation G.S. 143-355(b)(3)
Prepare and recommend legislation for preserving and improving rivers, harbors, dredging of small inlets and providing for safe harbor facilities and public tidewaters.
Planning and Developing Water Resource Projects G.S. 143-355(b)(7), (9); 143-358
Cooperate with federal and interstate agencies in planning and developing water resource projects for navigation, flood control, hurricane protection, shore erosion prevention and other purposes.

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Education

Stream Watch Program G.S. 143-215.74F-I
Encourage volunteer groups to adopt streams and water bodies and to work toward their good management and protection.  Increase public education regarding water resource issues.  Work toward cooperation among various governmental and volunteer organizations to promote protection and improved management of the State's water resources.
An expanded unofficial version of this statute is available at this location:   pdf version of the statute
Planning and Education G.S. 143-354(a)(1)
Carry out a program of planning and education concerning the most beneficial long-range conservation and use of water resources of the State.  Investigate long-range needs of counties and municipalities and other local governments for water supply storage available in federal projects.
Information to EMC G.S. 143-354(a)(5)
Provide to the EMC suggestions affecting the use and conservation of water.

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Loans and Grants

Water Infrastructure Statute (NCGS 159G)
The Water Infrastructure Statute (NCGS 159G) establishes the various funds and enables PWSS to issue rules governing the various state funding programs.
WIP Rules (15A NCAC 01J)
15A NCAC 01J rules govern the High Unit Cost Grant, State Revolving (low-interest) Loan and Emergency Loan programs.
For OAH rules including official history, click here.
15A NCAC 01N
15A NCAC 01N rules govern the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program.
For OAH rules including official history, click here.
Federal DWSRF Rule (40 CFR 35 Subpart L)
The Federal DWSRF Rule (40 CFR 35 Subpart L) provides general statutory authority for EPA to oversee the DWSRF program nationwide and outlines general requirements for states that administer the funds.
DWSRF Operating Agreement
The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Operating Agreement (Scanned PDF or text-based PDF) with the EPA includes the current priority criteria and provides more specific information on the ongoing operations of the N.C. DWSRF program.
Intended Use Plans
The Intended Use Plans provide more specific information on how the PWS Section intends to use a particular year's capitalization grant from the EPA.
North Carolina Drinking Water Act
The N.C. Drinking Water Act protects public health by regulating public water systems in North Carolina.
U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
The U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) protects public health by encouraging states to regulate public water systems.
State Environmental Review Procedure (SERP)
The State Environmental Review Procedure (SERP) provides detailed information on how the PWS Section will perform environmental review for DWSRF projects.
State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)
The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) assures that all branches of government give proper consideration to the environment, in the form of environmental review, prior to undertaking any major state action, particularly construction. North Carolina's T15A NCAC 01C rules administer the act.
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assures that all branches of government give proper consideration to the environment, in the form of environmental review, prior to undertaking any major federal action, particularly construction.

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Planning

Promoting Development of Water Resources G.S. 113-8
Make investigations of water supplies and water powers, prepare and maintain a general inventory of water resources in the State, and take measures to promote their development.
Advises Other Agencies for Planning PurposesG.S. 113-14.1(b)(5)
Advise and confer with other agencies in planning and implementing the overall program.
Hurricane Flood Protection and Beach Erosion Control Project Revolving FundG.S. 143.215.62
When funds are available, make advances from this fund to counties or municipalities for advance planning and engineering work that will promote preservation or construction of hurricane flood protection or beach erosion projects.   Provide the county or municipality with an opinion on the project's impact on beach erosion control or protection from floodwater; on the prospects for federal financial aid; and on the impact on citizens of the financial outlays that would result from the project.
Water Resources Development Plan G.S. 143-215.73A
Prepare a statewide plan for water resources development projects by July 1 of each calendar year for a period of six years into the future. Assign priorities to each project within categories and provide information on each project.  Provide copies of the plan to the Director of the Budget who shall provide copies to the Advisory Budget Commission and the General Assembly along with the recommended budget.
Assuring Cooperation with Federal Projects G.S. 143-354(a)(10)
Provide federal agencies assurances of nonfederal cooperation for water supply storage and other Congressionally authorized purposes in federal projects.
Local and State Water Supply Plans G.S. 143-355(l), (m)
Provide technical assistance to local systems as they develop and adopt Local Water Supply Plans, which will include present and projected population and water use, present and planned future water supplies, and estimates of the need for technical assistance.
Develop a State Water Supply Plan to assure the availability of adequate supplies of good quality water to protect public health and support economic growth.  Include the data in the local water supply plans and identify potential areas of conflict and cooperation throughout the State.
An expanded unofficial version of GS143-355(l) and (m) is available at this location:   pdf version of the statute

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Regulation

Weekly Drought Water Use Reporting
Each local government and large community water system must report their water use on a weekly basis if their county is designated as Extreme (D3) or Exceptional (D4).
An expanded unofficial version of GS143-355 is available at this location:   pdf version of the statute
Water Conservation Reporting
Each local government and large community water system must report their implementation of water conservation measures within 72 hours of implementation.  To assist the State in understanding the status of the State's water systems, it is important to report changes in conservation levels (both more restrictive and less restrictive).
An expanded unofficial version of GS143-355 is available at this location:   pdf version of the statute
SESSION LAW 2008-143
An act to improve Drought preparedness and response in North Carolina, as recommended by the Environmental Review Commission.  
An expanded unofficial version of GS143-215.11-.22 is available at this location:   pdf version of the statute
Water Use Act of 1967 G.S. 143-215.11 through .22
Designate a capacity use area where use of ground water and/or surface water require coordination and limited regulation for protection of the interests and rights of property owners and residents or of the public interest.
An expanded unofficial version of GS143-215.11-.22 is available at this location:   pdf version of the statute
Registration of Water Withdrawals and Transfers G.S. 143-215.22G and 22H
Requires anyone who withdraws one million gallons of water a day or more and non-agricultural water users that withdraw one hundred thousand gallons of water a day to register that withdrawal or transfer with the State.
An expanded unofficial version of GS143-215.22G is available at this location:   pdf version of the statute
An expanded unofficial version of GS143-215.22H is available at this location:   pdf version of the statute
Additional information concerning Interbasin Transfers (administrative code) is available at this location:   pdf version of TA0500
Dam Safety Law of 1967 G.S. 143-215.25 (4)
Recommend conditions relating to release of flows from impoundments, location or design of the outlets and of water intakes, the amount and timing of withdrawal from a reservoir and the construction of submerged weirs or other structures designed to satisfy minimum instream flow requirements.
Right of Withdrawal of Impounded Water G.S. 143-215.44 through .50
Gives a person who lawfully impounds water for purposes of withdrawal the right of withdrawal of the excess volume that is due to the impoundment.
Notification of Potential Water Shortages G.S. 143-354(a)(3)
Notify any municipality or government of potential water shortages or emergencies and supply recommendations for decreasing water use or increasing supply.
Declaration of Water Emergency G.S. 143-354(b)
Conduct an investigation of water resources to determine if an emergency situation exists when a request for such a study is made by a local government.  Hold a public hearing and notify the Governor, who may declare an emergency situation.
Water Emergency Powers G.S. 143-354(c)
Authorize a diversion and make rules governing conservation and use of the diverted waters if the Governor declares a water emergency.
Prerequisites to Acquisition of Water by Eminent Domain G.S. 162A-7 (a) through (f); G.S. 153A-285
Issue certificates to an authority to allow it to acquire water rights through eminent domain.  Hold a public hearing and consider whether the project provides maximum beneficial use of the water resources of the State. Considerations include the project's necessity, promotion or increase of conservation or storage, extent of probable detriment and feasibility of alternative sources.
"Authority" includes counties and cities acting jointly or through joint agencies to provide water services, sewer services or both.

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Rules, Regulations & General Statutes Specific to Public Water Systems

U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act
The U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) protects public health by encouraging states to regulate public water systems.
N.C. Drinking Water Act
The N.C. Drinking Water Act protects public health by regulating public water systems in North Carolina.
Operating Permits and Fees
Rules Governing Public Water Supplies
Rules Governing Public Water Systems(Complete text)
Individual Sections can be found on this page:  Rules Governing Public Water Supplies
Environmental Assessment Requirements
See this page for rules and guidance.
Public Water Supply Section Response to EPA/HHS Flouride Announcement
Amendment to Rule 15A NCAC 18C.0203, Variance Process for Certain Water Supply Well Setback Requirements
Proposed Amended Rule 15A NCAC 18C.0203
Explanation and Reason for Proposed Rule 15A NCAC 18C 0203
Agency Contact for oral and written comments for Proposed Rule 15A NCAC 18C.0203
Fiscal Note amended 15A NCAC 18C 0203 DENR10022012.pdf

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Rules Governing Water Treatment Facility Operators

Certification of Water Treatment Facility Operators (General Statute)
Water Treatment Facility Operator Rules
Rule Changes Effective February 1, 2012

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Studies

Water Resources Surveys G.S. 113-21
Cooperate with counties in making water resources surveys, as well as recommending plans for municipal improvements and enterprises.
Establish Minimum Stream Flows (Dams)G.S. 143-215.25(4) and .32
Determine what level of stream flow below a dam is adequate to maintain stream classifications and water quality standards.  Recommend conditions relating to release of flows from impoundments, location or design of the outlets and of water intakes, the amount and timing of withdrawal and the construction of submerged weirs.
Engineering and Hydraulic Studies G.S. 143-355(b)(4)
Make engineering studies, hydraulic calculations, hydrographic surveys and reports relating to shore erosion projects, dams reservoirs, river channel improvements.  Develop estimates of costs for such projects for budget and planning purposes.
Reports to Governor and General Assembly G.S. 143-355(b)(10)
Make reports as requested by the Governor and General Assembly.

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