PROTECTING NORTH CAROLINA’S WATER INTERESTS
Some opponents of Alcoa-Yadkin have argued that North Carolina should oppose a new license to protect its water rights along the Yadkin River. The fact is, the state and federal government control water rights — not Alcoa-Yadkin — and are responsible for managing water withdrawals, inter-basin transfers and other important water issues that might interest North Carolina in the future.
Alcoa-Yadkin has worked closely with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to ensure that North Carolina’s water interests are well represented and strongly supported in the relicensing agreement.
Improved Water Quality
Once Alcoa-Yadkin receives a new license, it will install state-of-the-art aeration technology to increase dissolved oxygen levels and improve water quality in the Yadkin River. This is part of a planned $240 million upgrade.
Water for North Carolina’s Growth
The Yadkin River provides drinking water to many local communities in central North Carolina and the relicensing agreement allows for new or increased water withdrawals.
If North Carolina wishes to withdraw additional water from the Yadkin River, the State has the authority to issue water withdrawal permits to meet demand. FERC has an established process in place for approving new water withdrawals of more than 1 million gallons per day. Click here to review the FERC process for new water withdrawals.
Responsible Drought Management
Managing water resources during drought conditions is one of the most significant challenges facing those who depend on the Yadkin River for recreation and other purposes. The relicensing agreement includes a comprehensive drought management plan (known as the “Low Inflow Protocol”) that requires Alcoa-Yadkin to reduce generation and send less water downstream when drought conditions are present. These measures are designed to better protect water levels.
During the prolonged drought currently affecting central North Carolina, Alcoa-Yadkin has voluntarily adopted many elements of the proposed drought management plan. It has reduced power generation at the Yadkin Project since May 2007 and has asked for and received permission from FERC on three separate occasions to reduce the amount of water that must be sent downstream. As a result, 35 percent more water has remained in the reservoirs.