All posts by Veronica Horvath

Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake: Source Water Protection

Charlotte Water provides an average of 117.54 million gallons a day to over 1.1 million people. Our drinking water sources are Mountain Island Lake and Lake Norman, which are both parts of the Catawba-Wateree River Basin.

Taken by Cam Coley, employee City of Charlotte, Charlotte Water

Charlotte Water staff partner with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services to sample source waters Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake.  Multiple locations from both sources are monitored. Sample results and monitoring techniques can be found on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services website.

The Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group (CWWMG) which Charlotte Water is an active member of is a member organization for all large water users on the Catawba-Wateree River Basin.

CWWMG members meet regularly to formulate strategies and projects to help understand and address the Basin’s water challenges. This includes monitoring the river basin, assessing conservation locations for maximum benefit to the water supply, and working together to ensure that the region has a lasting and high-quality water supply for years to come. These recommendations are then implemented when feasible by water users and related partners across the region.

Visit the CWWMG website for project results.

The North Carolina Division of Water Resource, Public Water Supply Section is responsible for implementing the Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP) for all public drinking water supplies in the state. A source water assessment is a qualitative evaluation of the potential of a drinking water source to become contaminated by the identified potential contaminant sources (PCS) within the delineated area. PCS includes permitted industries, urban stormwater runoff, and other non-point source contamination sources like agriculture and land clearing activities. (from

Additional Partners and Organizations Working to Protect Local Source Waters are:

Fixing at-home Leaks

Tackling at home leaks can be a challenge, but small drops can add up to big dollars on your bill, so we’ve provided some quick tips and tricks to help you save water and money:

  • Identify your main shut of valve to your home in case of emergency. They are usually located where your water service line enters your home and are often found in the garage or crawlspace.
  • Replace toilet flappers every few years, make sure they are the correct size, and do a dye test if you suspect a silent leak.
  • Clean and replace gaskets and aerators in faucets and showerheads.
  • Check for spots in the yard that are always wet in case of an irrigation leak.
  • Water service providers participate in the EPA’s Fix a Leak Week each March to support conservation and increase customer knowledge of at home plumbing! You can visit their webpages for more tips and tricks and even an at-home scavenger hunt you can do with the whole family.

Charlotte Water to Settle Lawsuit with Real Estate Developers and Home Builders. What does that mean for Customers? 

Recently, Charlotte City Council approved a legal settlement between Charlotte Water and a law firm representing local real estate developers and builders. The lawsuit is part of an overall class action lawsuit against more than two dozen cities in North Carolina, including Charlotte, over the legality of water utilities to charge system development fees. The developers and builders claimed that utilities’ system development fees should be stopped and paid back.

System development fees are a long-standing industry standard, state statute (North Carolina General Statute 162A Article 8), and important part of a water utility’s capacity-building program.

 Charlotte Water, like other utilities in the state, charge system development fees to developers and other home builders to partially recover upfront costs associated with capacity investments. These fees – not charged to the average Charlotte Water customers – help offset the financial investment required to build the necessary water and sewer system expansions for new developments. Fees range from $3,500 to over a million and depend on the size of the meter being requested and are typically passed along to developers’ clients and products.

“Without system development fees all customers would bear the cost of the additional capacity needed when new developments add on to the water and sewer systems.”

The initial lawsuit was filed by the developers in November 2018. A second lawsuit was filed by the developers in April 2021 similar to the first but covering a different timeframe. Since the purpose of Charlotte Water’s system development fees and the extensiveness of our CIP program are fundamentally different than the other cities, Charlotte Water felt confident in the case. However, after four years of litigation, Charlotte Water lost the first suit and made the decision to settle the second to minimize the financial impact to customers.

“Though the City continues to dispute the allegations, a settlement was recommended to avoid further financial risk to all existing customers.”

The settlement, which includes two installments for a total of $106 million dollars, will be spread over two years. The first installment of $90 million, has already been paid for using mainly Charlotte Water reserves moved to take the brunt of the financial impact. The second settlement, $16 million, will be paid through a multi-prong solution of reduced cash flow to current capital investment projects, short-term delays to some projects, reserves, and a proposed additional $0.72/household annually rate increase, taking effect July 1, 2023.

 Legal staff will bring forward during the January 23 Council meeting recommended changes to Chapter 23 of City Code to clarify and further define Charlotte Water revenues and use of funds.

UPDATE: City Council approved the changes during the January 23 Business Meeting.

The Value of Water

Charlotte Water participated in the US Water Alliance’s national awareness campaign called Imagine a Day Without Water by producing a series of short videos that highlight the value of water in our region and the collaboration needed to plan for things like droughts, emergencies and even the extensive growth happening in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Our region has unique shared water resources, especially the vast network of lakes that are used for drinking water, energy and recreation.

We are grateful for the hard work of so many regional stakeholders that protect this precious resource. Visit our YouTube playlist, The Value of Water, to watch the full series, with the introductory video below.