Jordan Lake boundary dispute
The following letter was sent to the Durham Board of County Commissioners and to the Durham County Manager. PA members (and all others!) are encouraged to email the County Commissioners and County Manager to express your views on this issue.
The Durham People’s Alliance opposes modifications of the Critical Watershed Boundary of Jordan Lake based on a survey paid for by a private developer with obvious self-interest.
We are disappointed that a majority of County Commissioners voted to send to the state Water Supply Watershed Protection Program for approval, a survey that a developer has paid for that coincidentally shifts the normal pool boundary away from the developer’s property, thereby increasing its value many times over. No matter the accuracy or inaccuracy of the survey, this is a dangerous precedent and does not serve the best interests of the citizens of Durham. Any adjustments to the normal pool boundary and critical watershed boundary should be made only on the basis of an impartial and independent survey by a firm hired by the Durham County Commissioners.
Jordan Lake has been on the EPA’s Impaired Waters list since 2002 due to excess nutrients. The state is in the process of enacting regulations to require a 35% reduction in nitrogen loading and a 5% reduction in phosphorous in the Upper New Hope area of the lake, which is in our watershed area. These requirements, if approved, are estimated to cost Durham citizens millions. We cannot afford to make any decisions that might further impair this arm of Jordan Lake.
Given the recent resolution of Chatham County Commissioners to oppose the use of the private developer’s survey to determine the critical watershed boundary, we take this opportunity to state our support for regional cooperation around water quality and supply. Durham purchased water from Cary to help us survive the 2007 drought. Cary gets water from Jordan Lake. So, in essence, any policy initiative taken in regards to the water quality of Jordan Lake is a decision with potential to come back to haunt Durham citizens.
Thank you for the opportunity to express our support for an independent and impartial survey of the critical watershed boundary of Jordan Lake.
Vice-president, Coordinating Committee
Durham People’s Alliance