Challenges of Developing and Implementing an Interbasin Transfer Management Strategy for Greenville Utilities Commission, North Carolina

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The North Carolina Environmental Management Commission (EMC) enacted the Capacity Use rule on August 1, 2002. The Capacity Use rule was developed as a control measure for groundwater use in the Cretaceous aquifer in response to decreasing groundwater level and saltwater intrusion. The rule specifies a total of 75 percent reduction in groundwater use from the Cretaceous aquifer from an approved base rate. The Town of Farmville (Pitt County), the Town of Winterville (Pitt County), and Greene County currently rely on the Cretaceous aquifer for their sole water supply, and therefore are significantly affected by the CCPCUA rule. These communities plan to purchase bulk finished water from Greenville Utilities to comply with Capacity Use rule and continue to meet customer needs. However, the purchase of bulk finished water from Greenville Utilities to the Town of Farmville and Greene County constitutes an Interbasin transfer (IBT) from the Tar River basin to the Contentnea Creek subbasin. Similarly, the sale of finished water to the Town of Winterville constitutes an IBT from the Tar River basin to the Neuse River subbasin. An Interbasin Transfer Management Strategy was developed to provide a sustainable water supply solution for Greene County, Farmville, and Winterville.

North Carolina's IBT regulations require there be a preponderance of benefits relative to detriments for any IBT. Additionally detriments must be mitigated to a reasonable degree. For Greenville Utilities interbasin transfer, the complexities of the tidally influenced river system and conflicting regulatory requirements created challenges in the formulation of an IBT management plan to provide sufficient water resources for all of the communities affected. A detailed analysis of the potential environmental effects of the proposed IBT using hydrologic modeling enabled the development of a management plan that satisfies customer needs, abides by North Carolina regulations, and does not significantly impact the environment.

Keywords: Hydrologic Modeling; Interbasin Transfer; Permitting; Water Supply; Water Withdrawal

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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