Explore the basin with our interactive maps!

Welcome to the Catawba Riverkeeper's new map to explore the Catawba-Wateree River basin!

This is a large basin -- 5,000 square miles with two million people. Each Monday for the next two months, we will be rolling out a map to help acquaint you with the basin. Where does your water come from? Where does it go? Where can I recreate? Who represents me in the legislature? These questions and more will be answered in our interactive map.

Explore the navigation to the top left to search for an address, change base maps, turn layers on/off, view the legend, filter (if available) or measure.

The layers have been compiled using publicly available data with tremendous refinement. Still, the data might not be perfectly polished. If you notice an error (or have a question), please contact


3/10/17: Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs)

Thermoelectric Power Plants

Sewer infrastructure is aging. Even when it doesn't rain, sewers can overflow, but especially when stormwater infiltrates the system, it can overwhelm and cause an overflow. See where there have been SSOs near you so that the next time it rains, you can check on a lift station or manhole to see if the problem has truly been fixed. If it hasn't, you can report it and very directly help stop the flow of bacteria, nutrients, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals and more into our waterways.

1/11/17: Who Represents Me? Updated House, Senate Districts

Districts Map

Legislatures in both North and South Carolina went back to work this week. With the election behind us, not only is it important to know who represents you and if that changed, but it is time to engage your elected officials. Get to know them, and make sure they know we need legislation protective of the water we all depend on and enjoy!


9/19/16: Thermoelectric Power Plants

Thermoelectric Power Plants

Where does our power in the basin come from? A lot of people need a lot of electricity and a lot of water. And the generation of that electricity itself needs a lot of water.

Hydroelectric power on the Catawba River provides 819 megawatts (MW) to the grid. But it passes through and is all available downstream. The three coal, two nuclear and one gas power plants provide much more power -- 9,631 MW -- but need lake water for cooling (hence, thermo + electric). The transfer of heat to lake water causes it to evaporate. As much of a concern as coal ash and nuclear wastes can be, the water quantity of the Catawba-Wateree River basin is increasingly strained at least as much as water quality, itself hampered by less available water for dilution. Tens of millions of gallons per day are lost to evaporative cooling at these power plants. Plus, that electricity does not simply stay within the basin. When you want to save water, remember that one key way of doing so is to conserve electricity!

9/12/16: Legislative Districts

Legislative Districts
Who represents me in the state's House? The Senate? While there is much focus on federal and local elected officials, among the most influential and overlooked politicians are state representatives and senators. See who represents you and what polluters and other significant features are in which districts.

9/5/16: Recreation Access: Launches, Gas, Restrooms, Marinas

So, just where can you get on the river or its lakes? Can I launch a boat, or just a canoe/kayak? Can I fill up with gas? Much of the waterfront is developed, and access can be difficult to figure out.
This map was compiled with publicly available information, as well as other sources for businesses. Please let us know if we need to correct anything! And as always, previous layers are still present! They have just been turned off by default, but you can turn them back on to overlay different layers by clicking on the layer button under the search bar (upper left).

8/29/16: National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Discharge Points

 Map NPDES discharges

CLICK HERE TO VIEW MAP (but please read below, first!)

The Clean Water Act of 1972 created the NPDES permit program to regulate pollutant discharges and -- as they hoped to do by the mid 1980s and is in the name -- eliminate pollutant discharges. Basically, if you use water to handle waste, only return what you took out.

This week, we release a map of releases -- where pollution is permitted to be released into the Catawba River and other waterways in the basin. The basin currently has 272 active NPDES permitted discharges. Data for this map was filtered to not include inactive permits, though some displayed permits could have become inactive (a common trend as we had 550 active permits in the basin in 2007), and some new discharge points could have been added.

The data have been divided into two layers for two common types of NPDES permits:

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs)

  • Treated sewage must conform to certain permit standards, but this effluent can still contain bacteria, nutrients and other problematic chemicals, including those not monitored in the permit (e.g., industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, etc).


  • These are NPDES permits other than WWTPs and are often industry from chemical coating companies to paper mills to various other manufacturers that need to use and discharge water.

Also, layers from last week's release remain available. Click the layer button under the search bar to see a dropdown list of layers you can turn on and off.


    8/22/16: Waterways, Basins and Public Water Supply Intakes

    Maps Intakes


    CLICK HERE TO VIEW MAP (but please read below, first!)


    What's the name of that creek? Which sub-basin (creek watershed) am I in? Where is the precise location from which our water is withdrawn?

    This first release includes the basic water features of our basin, including an outline of the overall Catawba-Wateree River basin! Exactly where does that line fall? Now you know! Within the basin are other layers. Click on the features for pop-up windows with information. You can always search for an address in the Search Bar and zoom out to see nearby features.

    Perennial and Named Waterways

    • This layer contains waterways from the National Hydrography Dataset (from USGS) that are classified as perennial (year-round, regular flow) or have a name. Must be zoomed in enough to see. Some segments might appear broken, which can happen because of farm ponds and re-routing (i.e., under a road).

    Major Waterways

    • This is a subset of the Perennial and Named Waterways layer and will only display larger rivers and creeks. Only visible when zoomed out.


    • The major, dammed-in-line lakes of the Catawba River with information on area.

    Sub-Basins (HUC12)

    • You know the overall Catawba-Wateree River basin now. What about the drainage areas for specific creeks? Basins are organized in Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs). The more numbers, the more detailed.

    Public Water Supply Intakes

    • These are the locations from which water is withdrawn for treatment and distribution in municipal water supply systems. Some municipalities sell water to other municipalities, and that information is included, too.
    Document Actions
    Help Catawba Riverkeeper

    Your River needs you as much as you need the River

    Support Our River

    Help in other ways

    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