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2014 Mecklenburg County State of the Environment Report - Water


Water is an invaluable resource to our community and region. Without it, life is not sustainable. The water that exists on Earth today is the same water that was here millions of years ago. Charlotte-Mecklenburg has an abundance of surface waters, and it is everyone's responsibility to protect it for future generations. There are more than 3,000 miles of streams, 47,000 acres of lakes, and numerous groundwater sources within the county. These waters provide a safe drinking water source to the region, as well as water for power generation, and recreational opportunities such as boating, swimming and fishing. Groundwater continues to provide a water source to approximately 15% of Mecklenburg County residents.

In order to help protect our water, it's important to first understand how easily our daily actions can affect the quality and quantity of our water. Water runs downhill and drains into streams, lakes, and rivers. The area of land that drains to one point is known as a watershed. Actions that occur within your watershed have a direct impact on the water. For example, fertilizer on your yard or a car dripping oil will affect the quality of the stream nearby. Wasteful water usage will result in higher water demands on our lakes and groundwater resources. Our growing region continues to put a higher demand on our water resources. Your activities at home, work and play have a direct impact on everyone's water. We should all be responsible stewards of this important resource.

 View the Water video


Water Quality Environmental Indicators





  • Continue the effective implementation of the Post-Construction Storm Water Ordinances adopted by the City of Charlotte, six Towns and Mecklenburg County by ensuring adequate funding and support of plan reviews, inspections, enforcement, and maintenance activities, so that the intent and goals of the ordinances are met. Develop opportunities for loosening restrictions in exchange for mitigation. As we continue to face economic challenges, it is important that we develop options for the development community that promote economic development while at the same time enhance offsite measures to protect and restore water quality conditions.
  • Develop and fund implementation of watershed management plans to restore those watersheds that have been identified as impaired or not meeting their designated uses and to protect those that have remained fully supporting of their uses.
  • Continue to monitor fish tissue, in cooperation with the State, and advise the public of consumption risks.
  • Develop and implement efforts to increase volunteerism in protecting and restoring water quality conditions. Encourage and offer incentives for sustainable development to supplement practices required by the Post-Construction Storm Water Ordinances. Promote environmental stewardship on a countywide level by recognizing and rewarding the good work and accomplishments of both the public and private sector.
  • Continue to aggressively identify and track contamination sites, and the location of wells, and to support the enforcement of the Groundwater Well Regulations to ensure safe drinking water throughout Mecklenburg County.

More information


The trends shown in the State of the Environment Report are not all based on tests of statistical significance. Data analysis, anecdotal evidence, and best professional judgment have been compiled to represent these trends. The State of the Environment Report takes a snapshot of important environmental indicators in an effort to educate the public while highlighting challenges, successes and the general direction of change for each indicator. For additional information on these indicators and the determination of trends, please follow the links and feel free to contact the appropriate resources.

Last updated 2/18/14