Duke Energy shares a commitment with communities and water users along the basin to ensure that an abundant water supply is available to communities along the river. Conserving water is a shared responsibility among all water users, including individual households particularly during drought conditions.
As part of Duke Energy’s Catawba-Wateree hydro relicensing process, a partnership was created to address water use by large water users and entities with water intakes. This group developed a protocol with procedures for reductions in water use during periods of low inflow to the Catawba-Wateree Project (Project).
The development of the Low Inflow Protocol (LIP) was a collaborative effort by the (large) water users/withdrawers in the Catawba-Wateree River basin. The goal is to take the actions needed in the basin to delay the point at which the Project’s available water storage inventory is fully depleted. While there are no human actions that can guarantee that the basin will never experience operability limitations at water intake structures due to low reservoir levels or low stream flows, this LIP is intended to provide additional time to allow precipitation to restore stream flow, reservoir levels and groundwater levels to normal ranges.
The Catawba-Wateree Drought Management Advisory Group (CW DMAG) consists of large water users/withdrawers. The members of this group agree on the conditions set forth in the LIP and will reevaluate and modify the LIP periodically. Members of this group include:
- North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (including Division of Water Resources and Division of Water Quality)
- North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
- South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
- South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
- United States Geological Survey
- Owners of large water intake structures located on the Catawba-Wateree Project or main stem of the river
- Owners of large water intake structures located on any tributary stream within the basin that ultimately drains to Lake Wateree
- Duke Energy
In the LIP, drought stages are determined by the following three indicators:
- How much water is in the reservoirs;
- How much water is flowing into the reservoirs; and
- The US Drought Monitor, a government web site that indicates what parts of the country are in a drought and how severe that drought is.
Duke Energy performs a monthly evaluation of these indicators and then issues a report to all large water users along the Catawba, indicating which stage the basin is in and what actions should be taken to help conserve water.
There are 5 stages - from stage 0 (a watch) to stage 4 (emergency - where water supply is in critical situation). Actions are detailed for each stage.