The State Attorney General announced Tuesday the end of the “Water War” between North and South Carolina. South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster said an agreement has been reached between the four parties, which include the two Carolinas, Duke Energy and the Catawba River Water Supply project.
The case revolved around the extraction of water from the Catawba River that flows from North Carolina into South Carolina. The case was pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. The two states agreed to regulate the use and withdrawal of water from the Catawba-Wateree River Basin and encourage regulation of the amount of water extracted in periods of drought. McMaster says the agreement is the result of two states fighting a hard, but clean fight.
Upon the recommendation of all parties, the Supreme Court has now dismissed the action. South Carolina had initiated the lawsuit in June 2007.
McMaster says a key component of the agreement is that all parties have to sign off on any request for the extraction of water and that request must be accompanied by an environmental impact study conducted by agencies from both states.
McMaster says the agreement includes the stipulation that in times of drought, all previously agreed upon extractions of water must be lowered in order to conserve the resource.
McMaster says the rigor of the process spelled out in the agreement is more important than raw numbers of how many gallons of water are extracted; but there are benchmarks.
South Carolina Deputy Attorney General Bob Cook says the benchmarks are based on information in the model created in Duke Energy’s comprehensive relicensing agreement. Cook says the model is based on the inner basin transfers already approved by both states.
The states agree to update the Catawba-Wateree River Basin Water Supply Study every 10 years.
McMaster says the lawsuit has required a significant expenditure of revenue. However, with the agreement, millions have been saved with the signing of the agreement that he terms priceless.