Drought and Water Quantity

The Carolinas need better water management! Midway through 2015, drought conditions are creeping back into the Carolinas, worst of all in the Catawba River basin.

The Catawba River basin was one of the hardest hit regions during the 2007-2008, which set the drought of record for many parts of the southeast. In 2008, this basin was named The #1 Most Endangered River in America because of the water demands in a relatively small region with such potent water demands. The issue of flow between North and South Carolina even led to a Supreme Court dispute.

Since the drought, people have continued to use less water, even as the region recovered and has had plenty of rain. Still, the Catawba River is in high demand. Concord-Kannapolis and Union County have pursued inter-basin transfers (IBTs) that would drain the Catawba of water. The population has grown. And as rain has been sparse in 2015, drought conditions are quickly escalating again.

CRF has continued working on water quantity issues in multiple facets:

  • Following and providing input on the Water Supply Master Plan (WSMP) assembled by Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group (CWWMG)

  • Tracking -- and when necessary, filing litigation to keep in check -- IBTs

  • Advocating for power generation that consumes less water for cooling

  • Advocating for better stormwater management practices, which will help reduce flooding and improve water quantity


Who Uses Water? (NET, as in it is not available downstream)

Water Consumption Pie Chart Duke Energy 2006
Water Consumption Pie Chart Duke Energy 2006


More resources available here.

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Jan 25, 2017 NC Riverkeeper Report
From the perspectives of 12 NC Riverkeepers, this report discusses how multiple environmental issues pose challenges in the pursuit of clean, plentiful water. Whether you are in North Carolina or downstream in South Carolina, read this report about the state of environmental enforcement.
Dec 13, 2016 Community Foundation of Gaston County grants $5,000 to CRF for Riverkeeper Program
The Community Foundation will fund Catawba Riverkeeper's work in Gaston County.
Dec 12, 2016 A Successful Launch of our Water Education Program at Great Falls Elementary
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation in partnership with 4-H Clemson Cooperative Extension successfully completed our pilot Education Outreach Program with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students from Great Falls Elementary.
Sep 27, 2016 Lake Wateree Fall Cleanup a Sweeping Success
86 volunteers collected 5,490 pounds of trash from Lake Wateree
Jun 13, 2016 Dozens of Youth Reached in Water Education Outreach Program Pilot Lessons
More news…
Report Pollution in the Catawba River

Help protect your River! 

Tell your Riverkeeper if you see:

  • Sewage Overflows
  • Failure to control sediment from construction sites
  • Illegal clearing of buffer areas
  • Fish kills 
  • Unpermitted discharges
  • Other issues that concern you

Click here to fill out a pollution report or to report water pollution to Catawba Riverkeeper by phone, call 1-888-679-9494 or 704-679-9494.  In addition, to informing your Riverkeeper, you should also report spills or contamination to federal, state and local environmental officials.

To report South Carolina water pollution call 1-888-481-0125.

To report North Carolina spills or fish kills, call your local regional Department of Environment & Natural Resources office during normal business hours (704-663-1699 for most Catawba basin areas or (828) 296-4500 for Burke, Caldwell, McDowell and other mountain counties) or 800-858-0368 after hours.  (For more information on NC spill reporting, click here)


The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a proud member of EarthShare North Carolina, the North Carolina Conservation Network, River Network and the Waterkeeper Alliance.  It also in in an alliance with Clean Air Carolina to address issues, such as sprawl, that cause air and water problems.

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715 N. Church St., Suite 120 . Charlotte, NC 28202 . Phone: 704.679.9494 . Fax: 704.679.9559