Save Our sandhills
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Approved 9/5/07


STATEMENT OF CONCERN                                                  
WHEREAS potential water shortage in Moore County is a serious concern to all county citizens, whether they are served by private wells, municipal wells, or piped water from adjacent counties; and

WHEREAS on June 29, 2007 North Carolina Governor Easley announced that a drought had expanded to all 100 counties in North Carolina and urged water conservation for all current  residents and local statewide governments; and

WHEREAS, when determining the issuance of a drought advisory, the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council takes into account stream flows, ground water levels, the amount of water stored in reservoirs, weather forecasts, time of year, and other relevant factors; and

WHEREAS Seven Lakes is currently under a Stage 2 Moderate Mandatory Water Restriction since June 8, and Foxfire is under water duress as well; and

WHEREAS the entire length of Little River from its source near the towns of West End and Seven Lakes to the confluence with Crane Creek in the eastern part of Moore County and all of the small tributaries of the river not otherwise classified are classified by the North Carolina Department of Water Quality as Water Supply Watershed III (WS III) and High Quality Waters (HQW); and

Little River provides water to Fort Bragg at  its water supply intake 0.5 miles downstream of McPherson Creek; and

WHEREAS  Little River is a part of the Cape Fear River Basin,  which is North Carolina’s largest river basin,  containing 25% of North Carolina’s total population and supporting 95 different species of fish for commercial and recreational fishing;  and

Nicks Creek from its source in West End provides water to the Carthage water supply intake, and subsequently feeds into Little River; and

WHEREAS  Little River flows into Thagards Lake, which is an instream impoundment on Little River and the source of  some of Whispering Pines’ irrigation water supplies, and Thagards Lake, over 200 years old, serves as waterfront to approximately 165 homes in Whispering Pines and provides recreational opportunities to others in the community; and

WHEREAS both Little River and Nicks Creek have gone dry or almost dry during periods of drought; and

WHEREAS both Drowning Creek and Little River and their tributaries provide quality water to miles of flora and fauna in wetland areas; and

WHEREAS Drowning Creek/Lumber River is widely considered to be one of North Carolina’s premier blackwater streams, its name changing to Lumber River a few miles downstream from Moore County, with portions of this stream having the national designation of Wild and Scenic and the state designation of Natural and Scenic, and being one of the first designated state Canoe Trails in the southeastern United States, and constituting the central feature of the increasingly popular Lumber River State Park; and

WHEREAS Drowning Creek does not have an unlimited water supply, and a withdrawal of 30 million gallons per day would result in dry stream conditions, per the 1979 Sandhills Capacity Use Study; and

WHEREAS Whispering Pines and Southern Pines are currently taking potable water from Drowning Creek to meet their own needs as well as the needs of Pinehurst and Seven Lakes; and

WHEREAS the updated water pipeline from Pinehurst that is serving the West Moore district (including Seven Lakes) will be capable of providing 28 million gallons a month, while Seven Lakes build-out at only 80% would require 28.5 million gallons a month, more than is capable of being provided; and

WHEREAS the western portion of the Sandhills generally produces very low water yields with deep wells because of a relatively thin sand aquifer thickness; and

WHEREAS surrounding counties that agree to provide water to Moore County could have water shortages in times of drought, just as Harnett County is now experiencing, and could cut down on water volume to Moore County; and

WHEREAS golf courses can require 50 million gallons of water per year for irrigation; and

WHEREAS Little River Golf Course already uses Little River water for irrigation, and three proposed golf courses by MHK Ventures would use water from the Little River/Nicks Creek water supply, with MHK Ventures proposing to build 219 housing units in the Dormie Club on Little River as well as 635 housing units and a 150- to 250-room hotel in the Pinehurst Ritz Carlton development on Nicks Creek; and

WHEREAS water quantity and quality downstream of these golf courses and subdivisions could be negatively impacted in a severe manner; and

WHEREAS the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) discharge data for Little River for the month of June, 2007 at the gauge near Manchester north of Spring Lake shows that the daily base flows in Little River have been in the lowest of all flows recorded since 1939, and that surface water supplies in Moore County will be critical for summers to come; and

WHEREAS the North Carolina Public Water Supply Section of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) estimates that 400 gallons of water per day are needed to serve the requirements of each home in North Carolina, and this does not account for automatic sprinkler systems, which can more than double that amount, particularly in times of drought; and

WHEREAS the 1979 Sandhills Capacity Use Study indicated that downstream uses of water would be affected if water is withdrawn during drought conditions without adequate safeguards; and that most alternatives, which involve transfer of water from one basin to another, can cause long-range water use conflicts; and

WHEREAS aquifer recharge is negatively affected by extensive development; and

WHEREAS  a Local Water Supply Plan is required every 5 years for all community water systems with over 1,000 service connections and that serve 3,000+ people, and this plan has not been updated  in Moore County since 2002;

that Save Our Sandhills (SOS) in a membership meeting on September 5, 2007, strongly urges the Moore County Board of Commissioners, Moore County Planning Board, Moore County Planning Department, and North Carolina Department of Natural Resources (NCDENR) to consider all new withdrawals from surface waters in the context of the Moore County Water Supply Plan; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that a current Moore County Water Supply Plan should be completed before any future developments can be approved; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that no individual wells (including without limitation irrigation wells) may be constructed on individual lots of any major subdivision so as not to draw down existing well capacities; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that federal grant monies to relieve urgent water needs  should not be permitted to fuel a development frenzy by allowing larger boosters and waterlines for this purpose; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that water pipeline and well capabilities should  meet 100% of existing development build out plans before additional developments  can be approved, and that estimated water needs should be doubled  because of outdated NCDENR requirements of  probable irrigation needs , unless recycled wastewater is used; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that a new Sandhills Capacity Use Study should replace the 1979 study that is still being relied upon, despite tremendous population changes in 30 years; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that all proposed and future golf courses and major subdivisions provide detailed erosion and sediment control plans and storm water management plans to control offsite water quality impacts so that the post development rate of runoff from the site shall not exceed the predevelopment rate of runoff during the one and ten year storms, with plans and calculations by a licensed engineer showing how the project will comply; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED  that Save Our Sandhills (SOS) strongly urges the Moore County Board of Commissioners, Moore County Planning Board, Moore County Planning Department, and North Carolina Department of Natural Resources (NCDENR) to make permits for any new developments, particularly in the Nicks Creek and Little River areas (Watershed III), subject  to appropriate environmental studies; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that all proposed and future golf courses in Moore County be permitted only if they are irrigated by recycled wastewater; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that adequate stream flows must be maintained to dilute the effluent from wastewater treatment plants in Moore County, and that all treated water meet drinking level standards.


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