Charlotte Water Interbasin Transfer

Charlotte Water is the largest public water and wastewater utility in North Carolina, serving more than a million customers across Mecklenburg County. The greater Charlotte region has seen high growth over the past decade that is expected to continue at a significant rate. Charlotte Water is committed to ensuring the community it serves has a reliable water supply that maintains pace with this development and meets the water demands into the future.

 

Map of the Charlotte Water Interbasin Transfer

WATER SUPPLY: WHAT IS AN INTERBASIN TRANSFER (IBT)?

Public water systems get their water supply from a mix of surface and ground water supplies, including river basins. An interbasin transfer (IBT) is a State-regulated withdrawal, diversion or pumping of surface water from one source river basin to another river basin. The actual transfer is the amount of water not returned to its source basin.

Interbasin Transfer explained

Charlotte Water serves customers in both Catawba and Yadkin River Basins

Charlotte Water withdraws from Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake on the Catawba River basin. The water is treated and distributed to customers, used, collected and treated at wastewater treatment plants and portions are discharged to the Rocky River basin, resulting in the interbasin transfer.

 

Charlotte Water’s current IBT certificate was issued in 2002 by the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission and allows the transfer of up to 33 million gallons per day from the Catawba River basin to the Rocky River basin. As projected, this IBT certificate supports Charlotte-area water demands through 2028.

 

Charlotte Water actively monitors water consumption trends, implements conservation efforts and seeks all options to ensure reliable water supply for decades to come.  As part of the overall process, evaluation of these options is required as part of the IBT approval process.

CHARLOTTE WATER REQUESTS A MODIFICATION TO ITS IBT

Charlotte Water is requesting a modification to this certificate to increase the maximum limit. At this point, Charlotte Water is still determining the demand needs and what that exact number should be to serve the area for the next 30 years.

 

STEPS IN IBT MODIFICATION REQUEST

Charlotte Water is committed to following all the statutory requirements set forth by the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. The IBT process is a multi-year, highly regulated process that encourages stakeholder participation and feedback, and ensures that if approved, the modification will not be environmentally damaging to either source or receiving water basins. The schedule past the scoping process is dependent on many technical studies and associated environmental evaluations as part of the process.

IBT Modification Schedule

  1. Notice of Intent for a modification request (February 2024)
  2. Public scoping meetings for State Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (May/June 2024) & comment period
  3. Extended stakeholder engagement and input
  4. Incorporate and address public meeting comments
  5. Alternatives analysis
  6. IBT studies - demand, conservation, drought, monitoring
  7. NC DEQ drafts Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
  8. EMC public hearing and determination of adequacy of EIS 
  9. CLTWater submits IBT Modification Request to NC DEQ
  10. EMC public hearing of the IBT modification request
  11. Response to comments on draft determination
  12. Settlement discussions (if needed)
  13. EMC issues final determination on IBT modification

HOW CAN YOU BE INVOLVED?

Stakeholders are invited to attend public scoping meetings to learn more and provide comments at the beginning of this overall process. Charlotte Water is committed to open communication, so the community is informed and involved every step of the way. Public comments can be submitted during the following phases:

PUBLIC MEETINGS

Translation services are available for public meetings. To request an interpreter and/or translated materials, please email IBTProject@charlottenc.gov with the public meeting date and translation service needed.

 

Hickory/Morganton, NC

  • Monday, July 15, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • CoMMA Performing Arts Center
  • 401 S. College St., Morganton, NC 28655
  • Attend virtually via Teams (click here to join)
    • Meeting ID: 279 701 571 202
    • Passcode: TPjgBU

Rock Hill, SC

  • July 29, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Dutchman Creek Middle School
  • 4757 Mt Gallant Rd, Rock Hill, SC 29732
  • Attend virtually via Teams (click here to join)
    • Meeting ID: 234 372 047 717
    • Passcode: AKYnht

Past Meetings

 

Hickory, NC

  • Wednesday, May 8, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Ridgeview Branch Library – Z. Anne Hoyle Community Room
    • 706 1st St. SW, Hickory, NC 28602

Charlotte, NC

  • Thursday, May 9, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Charlotte Water
    • 4100 W Tyvola Rd., Charlotte, NC 28208

Albemarle, NC

  • Wednesday, May 15, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • EE Waddell Community Center – Banquet Room
    • 621 Wall St., Albemarle. NC 28001

Camden, SC

  • Tuesday, June 25,  6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Revolutionary War Visitor Center, Liberty Hall
    • 212 Broad St., Camden, SC 29020

Florence, SC

  • Thursday, June 27,  6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Francis Marion University, Chapman Auditorium (located in the Robert E. McNair Science Building)
    • 4800 E. Heyward Dr., Florence, SC 29506

 

 

 

DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT

>More details to be published when available

 

PUBLIC HEARING FOR IBT MODIFICATION REQUEST

>More details to be published when available

 

 

FAQs

What is an Interbasin Transfer (IBT) of water in North Carolina?

An interbasin transfer (IBT) is when water is taken from one river basin to be used in another and not returned to the source. North Carolina utilities often use IBTs to supply customers outside the source basin with drinking water daily. IBTs that exceed 2 million gallons per day are regulated by the state.

Does Charlotte Water already have an IBT? 

  • Yes. Charlotte Water’s current IBT, issued in 2002, allows the transfer of up to 33 million gallons per day (MGD) from the source basin to the receiving basin. The current IBT was projected to support the area’s water needs through 2030. 
  • Charlotte Water withdraws from Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake on the Catawba River basin (source basin). The water is treated and distributed to customers, used, collected, and treated at Charlotte Water’s wastewater treatment plants, and a portion is discharged to the Rocky River basin (receiving basin).

If Charlotte Water already has an IBT, why are they requesting a modification for more water?

  • The IBT modification process is needed to approve additional IBT to meet the community’s future water needs. Charlotte Water’s service area has seen high growth over the past decade, which is expected to continue at a significant rate. The original IBT issued in 2002 was projected to last through 2030.
  • Charlotte Water is the largest public water and wastewater utility in the Carolinas, serving more than one million customers in Charlotte and greater Mecklenburg County, including the towns of Matthews, Mint Hill, Pineville, Huntersville, Davidson, and Cornelius. 
  • Charlotte Water is committed to ensuring the community has a reliable water supply that maintains pace with development and meets future water demands while also advancing its conservation and drought management goals.

Who approves an IBT?

  • IBTs are monitored and approved by the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission (EMC) and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

What is the process for approving an IBT modification, and is it different than the initial IBT request process?

  • IBT modification is a multi-year, highly regulated process encouraging stakeholder participation and feedback. The process ensures that if approved, the modification will not be environmentally damaging to either source or receiving water basins. 
  • The modification process is more streamlined than the original IBT request process and has fewer notification requirements. Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping is not required for modifications, but Charlotte Water has chosen to go through the EIS process to ensure transparency, encourage public participation, and be able to incorporate public feedback early in the process.
  • An overview of the IBT modification request process is outlined below:
  1. Charlotte Water submits a Notice of Intent (NOI) for a modification request
  2. Public scoping meeting for state Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 
  3. Charlotte Water drafts and submits EIS to be published by DEQ for public comment
  4. DEQ reviews public comments and incorporates into development of the final EIS
  5. DEQ publishes the final EIS and approval
  6. Charlotte Water submits IBT modification request to EMC 
  7. EMC hosts a public hearing of the IBT modification request 
  8. EMC issues response to comments on the draft determination
  9. Settlement discussions (if needed)
  10. EMC issues final determination on IBT modification

Did Charlotte Water consider alternatives to IBT modification to meet future customer needs?

  • Yes. Alternatives are required to be considered as part of the IBT modification request process.
  • Alternatives evaluated include pumping water back to the Catawba River basin, reuse options, new water sources from the Yadkin River, and additional IBT allocation. Infrastructure alternatives require significant capital and involve lengthy implementation schedules or significant regulatory hurdles, whereas requesting a higher IBT limit is significantly less expensive to customers and minimizes the need for new infrastructure. 
  • Charlotte Water actively monitors water consumption trends, implements conservation efforts, and seeks all options to ensure a reliable water supply for decades.

Pre Analysis Alternatives Concepts(PPTX, 811KB)

How can the public be involved in the process?

  • Charlotte Water is committed to open and proactive communication so the community is informed and involved every step of the way. 
  • Stakeholders are invited to attend public scoping meetings, review available documents, and provide comments from the beginning of the process. 
  • The public can submit comments at the following points in the process:
    • Public scoping meetings 
    • Public comment period for the Draft EIS
    • Public hearing held by the EMC for the IBT modification request

What is the projected timeline for this process?

The IBT modification process can take anywhere from two to four years.

Where can I learn more?