The US Army Corps of Engineers has clarified its position to Kerr Lake Park Watch on water withdrawal from Kerr Lake by KLRWS, saying that the allocation including the 10 million gallons of water per day, was approved years ago.
After KLPW asked about the allocation in yesterday’s Corp of Engineers’ water resource meeting, Tony Young, Water Management for the Corps’ Wilmington District gave KLPW an answer to ‘why this is not a Corps’ issue, “The City of Henderson has had a water use/storage agreement with the federal government dating back to the mid-1970s, allowing withdrawals up to 20 million gallons per day (MGD) from Kerr Lake. In 2006, that water-use agreement was converted to a water-storage agreement following a detailed study. That study took into account that most of the water use would be consumptive (i.e., not returned to Kerr Lake) and evaluated the impacts of a 20 MGD withdrawal (with no return) on lake levels, power generation, and other project purposes. The proposed interbasin transfer by the Henderson/KLRWS does not involve any additional storage or increased withdrawals above and beyond those already taken into account in their current water storage agreement with the Corps. Therefore, there is no federal action required on the part of the Corps, as Henderson is not requesting a change to their existing storage agreement. Requests for interbasin transfers are processed and approved or denied at the state level.”
Gene Addesso, President of the Roanoke River Basin Association, resounded the fact, “Unfortunately Frank, the Corps has already, (years ago) allocated water supply to the City of Henderson, which is in the basin, (20 mgd per day), which is enough to cover the IBT. The Corps is not involved in the IBT.”
“It is a State of NC issue. Allocation does not approve or disapprove an IBT. The problem resides with the KLRWS selling water out of the Basin and NC allowing it, if they do.”
Addesso went on to provide Kerr Lake Park Watch with a more refined statement of why the RRBA and others want the process slowed down, if not halted. The following is an upcoming RRBA newsletter explanation of the organization’s stance:
Kerr Lake Regional Water System Inter-Basin Transfer Request
The Duke Environmental Law & Policy Clinic has been working with the Roanoke River Basin Association on comments regarding the Kerr Lake Regional Water System’s (KLRWS) proposed inter-basin transfer (IBT) project. The KLRWS seeks to increase the transfer of water from the Roanoke River basin to the Tar River, Fishing Creek and Neuse River basins from the grandfathered amount of 10 millions of gallons per day (mgd) to a total of 14.2 mgd by 2045 in order to meet projected future water demands in the receiving areas. In January 2015, KLRWS submitted an environmental assessment to the Division of Water Resources, which issued a Finding of No Significant Impact, thus forwarding the project to the public comment stage.
The Duke Law Clinic has found that the Division of Water Resources incorrectly allowed for an environmental assessment (EA) to be conducted instead of a more complete environmental impact statement (EIS). In North Carolina, any IBT above 2 mgd requires certification by the Environmental Management Commission and any major river basin transfer requiring such certification mandates an EIS. An EIS would include a comprehensive analysis of direct, secondary and cumulative impacts resulting from the transfer, such as to the 9 threatened and endangered species (Atlantic Sturgeon, Roanoke Logperch, Southern Bog Turtle, Dwarf Wedgemussel, James Spinymussel, Tar River Spinymussel, Small-anthered Bittercress, Small Whorled Pogonia and Smooth Coneflower) that are found in the source or receiving basins. On the contrary, the approved EA lacked any such concrete analysis supporting its claim of no significant impacts. The Clinic and RRBA board are thus preparing their final comments on the project (due April 30th), officially opposing the IBT until a proper EIS is performed.
On behalf of the RRBA
By: Emily Blanchard
Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic
The CORPS says it’s already approved. The ROANOKE RIVER BASIN ASSN says allocation is not the issue: Selling water to outside of Roanoke River Basin and bypassing/misusing the rules are the issues.
Our questions: Should the Corps of Engineers rethink their Kerr Lake allocations if LOCAL authorities are going to sell off water to other areas?
Is the Kerr Lake Regional Water Resource System setting up the Vance-Warren counties for a local water depletion later on for the quick buck now?
There is a meeting tomorrow night organized by the “Preserve Our North Carolina Lakes Community” at the Vance Commissioners’ Room at 122 Young Street in Henderson. It starts at 6:00PM.
You can go or not. You can get involved or not. But once you give it away, you cannot get it back.
Just ask any Indian.