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Stakeholders sign Catawba-Wateree license agreement

On Aug. 11, 2006, Duke Energy received the final signatures from community representatives involved in the Catawba-Wateree relicensing effort – following more than three years of negotiations.

Seventy out of 85 stakeholders signed the agreement that will be sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a new operational license. This license will allow Duke Energy’s 13 hydroelectric plants along the Catawba-Wateree River Basin to continue meeting the needs of more than 2 million electric customers in the Carolinas.

Since February 2003, 160 representatives from more than 80 organizations in the Carolinas have weighed in on the terms of Duke Energy’s application for a new operational license.

The agreement will benefit more than 1.3 million people who depend on the river for drinking water, recreation and industrial uses.

Benefits include:

Additional Recreational Opportunities: New and enhanced public access areas will create more opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming, camping and picnicking. Pre-scheduled water releases for guaranteed flows will create additional canoeing and kayaking opportunities.

More Land Available for Recreational Use: More than 2,500 acres of properties owned by Crescent Resources (a division of Duke Energy) will be dedicated for public recreation, and Crescent will offer state and local governments more than 3,400 additional acres at discounted prices. Depending on the license term, Duke Energy will also make up to $12.3 million available for state agencies to purchase additional land for recreational uses.

More Information Available on the Lakes and River: Reservoir levels (historical and near term), water release times, generation schedules and maps to public access areas will be made available as a result of this agreement. New safety signs in English, Spanish and international symbols will provide additional information.

Lake Level Ranges: Lake level ranges have been established to protect municipal, industrial and power generation water intakes, as well as recreation and property owner interests.

Increased Aquatic Species Habitat: Higher flow releases will substantially increase aquatic habitat and will return consistent water flows to some parts of the river for the first time in nearly 100 years.

Water Quality: Under the agreement, Duke Energy will install new equipment to enhance the quality of water released from hydroelectric plants. These flow releases will meet state water quality requirements and enhance fish habitat.

Water Supply Management: A new protocol has been developed to establish a basinwide approach to reduce water use during drought situations. These reductions apply to hydroelectric generation, water flows for recreation and public and industrial water system withdrawals. The goal is to stretch the available water supply until rain returns reservoir water storage and groundwater to normal levels. Duke Energy and the public water system owners are also establishing a Water Management Group to jointly fund long-term initiatives that will improve water quantity and quality management across the basin.

These improvements will enhance the 11 reservoirs along the Catawba-Wateree River Basin for the next 40 to 50 years. Review the final agreement lake summaries for information about a particular lake.