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Raleigh to get more drinking water from Falls Lake

March 5, 2019 GMT

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to increase the amount of drinking water Raleigh can pull from Falls Lake by 22 million gallons a day, officials said Tuesday.

Raleigh officials said the increase would be enough to meet area drinking water demands through 2047. The city’s Public Utilities Department provides water and sewer service to about 195,000 customers in Raleigh, Garner, Wake Forest, Rolesville, Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon.

The city has been searching for increased drinking water supply since 2006, considering proposals for new reservoirs and even pumping water in from the coast, officials said. By 2012, the city had decided to focus on squeezing more water out of Falls Lake, its primary reservoir.

The Corps of Engineers, which manages Falls Lake, conducted a study that determined “a reallocation of storage” in the lake was feasible and advisable, officials said. An assistant secretary of the Army approved expanding Raleigh’s access to water in the lake in January.

“The city of Raleigh is leaning very far forward showing a great deal of foresight about what their water future is going to look like, so this makes their water future much more sustainable,” Col. Robert Clark of the Corps of Engineers said in a statement.

“A big part of our job on [City] Council is looking to the future,” Mayor Nancy McFarlane said in a statement. “Without the foresight of others, Raleigh would not be the city it is today.”

Falls Lake has provided drinking water to Raleigh and nearby towns since it was created in the early 1980s.