Bordering the 11 lakes along the Catawba and Wateree Rivers in North and South Carolina are thousands of residential properties of various sizes. Many of these properties have automated irrigation systems withdrawing water from the lakes they border. Previously current water withdrawals were unknown because the irrigation systems are not metered, homeowners are not charged for the use of the lake water, and there are few restrictions on irrigation times.
These conditions, along with the recent droughts and increased development alongside the lakes, have resulted in withdrawals of large volumes of unmetered water from the lakes for irrigation of turf and landscape.
Through this study, completed in 2012 by Duke Energy and North Carolina State University, the CWWMG sought to quantify the amount of water withdrawn for irrigation by the lakeside properties, as well as look for ways to conserve the limited water supply of the Catawba‐Wateree River Basin. The overall goal of the study was to assess the magnitude and patterns of irrigation water withdrawals from lakeside lots in the Basin.
To meet this goal, several topics were evaluated, including quantification of current residential irrigation water withdrawals from Project lakes, metering of selected private property owners bordering Project Lakes to gather a sample of landscape irrigation water use withdrawals, and investigation of the potential water savings achieved by the implementation of “smart irrigation” technologies.