Despite serious misgivings among some local officials, OWASA is moving forward on discussions with the City of Durham, Chatham County, Orange County, and other neighboring jurisdictions to secure future access to Jordan Lake water.
There is a lot of pressure from Chatham County because they over-built beyond their capacity to provide water during the high growth heyday of the Bunky Morgan era. OWASA is a valuable ally to these other jurisdictions because it owns a prime piece of land on the west shore of Jordan Lake that is ideal for a water intake.
OWASA does not need Jordan Lake water. While there will be a brief period of time from about 2025-2030 (just before the Quarry reservoir becomes available) when demand could possibly out-strip supply, there are many opportunities to achieve more effective water conservation. The bottom line is that we can navigate through those few years without incurring the huge expense of accessing Jordan Lake water, without entangling ourselves with other jurisdictions who have a more irresponsible approach to policies of growth and sustainability, and without risking OWASA's independence.
We need to avoid a future in which OWASA might be gradually subsumed into a regional water utility that is at the behest of "grow first, think later" community leaders. There are financial and water quality concerns. OWASA and Orange County manage one of the cleanest watersheds in the country and we have all benefited from our local progressive growth management & environmental policies. We don't need Jordan Lake water, so why would we take serious risks on behalf of neighboring jurisdictions who are hoping OWASA helps bail them out of some questinnable planning decisions?