05/23/08 — County wants Falls Lake Dam to flow

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County wants Falls Lake Dam to flow

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 23, 2008 2:57 PM

It might just be more water behind the dam for Raleigh, but for Wayne County and other communities downstream, the water stored behind Falls Lake Dam is a promise of better flood control and a smooth-flowing Neuse River.

Tuesday morning Wayne County commissioners decided they needed to raise their collective voice in opposition to a request by the city of Raleigh that could lead to more water being stored in the lake created by the dam.

Raleigh and the surrounding areas, like the rest of the state, have been in the grip of a drought that forced the city to implement water-use restrictions as Falls Lake and the city's other sources of drinking water dried up.

Recent rains have weakened the drought's stranglehold somewhat. However, Raleigh is still looking for additional water sources as a hedge against future droughts.

Raleigh officials have asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the lake, to study the possibility of increasing the allocation of the lake's storage for water supply.

Wayne County's Board of Commissioners agreed that while the lake and its water supply are important to Raleigh, they are just as important to Wayne County and Goldsboro.

A resolution approved by commissioners Tuesday opposes any change in the current operation of the lake that would "negatively impact" flood control along the banks of the Neuse River and the water supply for citizens below the dam.

Commissioners expressed concerns that the dam, originally built for flood control, might not be able to withstand the strain of more water. They said they are concerned the policy change could adversely affect that role it plays in flood control.

The board questioned the feasibility of creating reservoirs along the Neuse River where stormwater runoff could be stored and possibly piped back to places like Raleigh for use.