The municipal use of the Catawba River's water including an interactive map of withdrawals and discharges
Simply put, water is a necessity of life. During average rainfall years in the green mountains, valleys and piedmont of the Carolinas it seems there's a never ending supply of the precious liquid. At normal lake levels within the basin's 11 Duke Energy managed lakes rest 739,022 acre-feet of water being stored for us to drink, bath in, boat on, use in industrial facilities, water our lawns and flush our toilets. That's 240,811,057,722 (240.81 billion) gallons of water in the chain of reservoirs from Lake James to Lake Wateree. In fact, to serve as a source of water and electricity to over 1.3 million people it has been so impounded by dams that in North Carolina the river's longest free-flowing section is just 17 miles long. In the entire basin the longest free flowing stretch of water is only 33 miles long.
For virtually the entire 300 miles that it flows from its headwaters in the Carolina mountains to its confluence with the Congaree River in South Carolina the water of the Catawba is siphoned off, used, reused, returned and added to before it is eventually allowed to find its way to the Atlantic Ocean. In 2006 water use totaled 420 million gallons per day (MGD) or 323 gallons for every man, woman and child within the river's domain.
After we withdraw and use this valuable resource over 2 dozen municipal waste-water treatment plants return treated effluent (wastewater) either directly or through tributaries back to the Catawba. The City of Charlotte Municipal Utilities Department discharged almost 30 billion gallons alone in fiscal year 2014-15 through its five wastewater treatment plants. It is important to remember, when it comes to wastewater discharges, we all live downstream from someone.
The interactive Google map below provides a look at the locations of the municipal water treatment plants (WTP) and municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) along the Catawba River. Many of the information balloons on the map contain details about these facilities as well as clickable links to more information about water quality and plant performance reports.
This map only shows municipal withdrawals and discharges. Other entities along the river such as Duke Energy and other industrial and agricultural users also take and return water in the Catawba River Basin.
Help protect your River!
Tell your Riverkeeper if you see:
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)