North Carolina Water Supply Plan

View the 2001 North Carolina Water Supply Plan

The North Carolina Water Supply Plan is the first document of its kind in North Carolina.   North Carolina has been working toward development of this statewide plan for over 10 years, since the passage of legislation in 1989 mandating the state and local water supply planning process.  The State Water Supply Plan provides a comprehensive assessment of water supply needs, water use, and water availability across the state; identifies the major water supply issues facing the citizens and elected officials of North Carolina now and in the near future; and provides guidance for sound water supply planning.  The State Water Supply Plan is a compilation of over 500 Local Water Supply Plans developed by local government water systems to assess their water supply needs over a twenty-year period.

In January 2000 the Division of Water Resources released a Draft State Water Supply Plan using data from Local Water Supply Plans reflecting water system conditions in 1992.  During 2000, DWR staff members held a series of informational meetings across the state to solicit public comments and suggestions on the draft document.

The most recent edition of the State Water Supply Plan, dated January 2001, is based on Local Water Supply Plans developed during 1998 and 1999 reflecting water system conditions in 1997.  Data from 1999 water withdrawal registrations are also included in the plan.  Estimates of overall water use also rely on information compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey and published in Open File Report 97-599 titled Estimated Water Use, by County, in North Carolina, 1995.

From the perspective of 2006, the 2001 North Carolina Water Supply Plan remains a valuable reference for statewide water supply information and an overview of water supply issues.  Readers should be aware that the information it contains dates from 1999 and that the Local Water Supply Plans on which it is based have been carefully reviewed by the Division of Water Resources but that we can not verify every figure.

Since the appearance of the 2001 North Carolina Water Supply Plan, the Division of Water Resources has adopted a new planning strategy to assure that North Carolina has sustainable water sources to meet future needs.  DWR is developing river basin water supply plans for each major basin in the state.   These plans will represent the merging of the data submitted by water withdrawers in each river basin with a computer-based hydrologic model.  This approach provides the ability to analyze the cumulative effects of long range projections of water withdrawals and returns on the surface waters of the basin being evaluated.   The river basin plans will provide a reliable, quantitative framework within which local governments and other water users can plan sustainable and cost-effective water sources for their future needs.  The basin plans and models will also guide state regulatory decisions on water resource management.   Sections of the NC Water Supply Plan will be updated as the river basin plans are completed.

Currently, Division staff members are working on the modeling and plans for the Catawba, Yadkin-Pee Dee, Cape Fear and Roanoke river basins.  Modeling of the Catawba and the Yadkin-Pee Dee basins is being done in conjunction with the relicensing of the hydropower projects in those basins.  These plans will be posted to the DWR website for review and comment.

For additional information or to provide comments about the Plan please contact Don Rayno at 919-715-3047 or  If you have any other water supply planning issues please visit our contact directory.