Charlotte Water hosting public meetings for feedback on Catawba River transfer

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte Water is planning for the future, and with as much growth as the Queen City has seen it means an increased need for clean water.

The city of Charlotte wants to increase the amount of water it transfers from the Catawba River Basin by about 30 million gallons per day, going from 33 million to 63 million.

The basin serves areas like Hickory, Albemarle, and communities in South Carolina, so officials from Charlotte are hosting public meetings in several spots to hear feedback and concerns from neighbors.

The first meeting took placed Wednesday evening in Hickory, with more scheduled in the coming weeks.


Hickory Mayor Hank Guess says there’s a trend of growth in his area, but to keep it going, the community will rely on the Catawba River just like Charlotte.

“We’re going to have a need for that water the same as Charlotte has a need for that water,” Guess told Channel 9′s Michelle Alfini.

Both cities draw their water from the Catawba basin, but while all of Hickory’s wastewater ends up back in the river, only the western part of Mecklenburg County’s wastewater makes it back into the Catawba.

“Water that is used on the eastern side of Mecklenburg County wants to flow to the Rocky River Basin,” said David Czerr with Charlotte Water.

Czerr says it’s an issue of gravity. Once the water makes it to the eastern side, it would have to be pumped back up to the Catawba River, which Czerr says is very costly and energy-intensive to do.

The Department of Environmental Quality issues licenses limiting how much cities can pull each day, and that’s what Charlotte Water wants to see increased.

“We will be refining that number and looking at what we actually need and what alternatives could offset,” Czerr said.

He added that just because the request is up to 63 million gallons per day, it doesn’t mean they’d actually transfer that much every day.

“Our average day number is far, far less than that,” Czerr said.

Meanwhile, community members who rely on the same water source want Charlotte to keep their needs in mind.

“We don’t think that if it was in reverse, we don’t think Charlotte would allow us to do what they’re asking from us,” Guess said.

Here’s when and where the meetings are taking place:

  • Hickory - Wednesday, May 8, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Ridgeview Branch Library, 706 1st Street SW
  • Charlotte - Thursday, May 9, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Charlotte Water HQ, 4100 W Tyvola Road
  • Albemarle - Wednesday, May 15, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at EE Waddell Community Center Banquet Room, 621 Wall Street
  • Florence - TBD
  • Camden - TBD

(VIDEO: New report shows plans to clean up Catawba river)

Michelle Alfini

Michelle Alfini, wsoctv.com

Michelle is a climate reporter for Channel 9.