Water Conservation In North Carolina

Last night, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed a second reading of a bill entitled: “AN ACT to improve Drought preparedness and response in North Carolina, as recommended by the Environmental review commission.”

Like all legislation, the devil is in the details.

The legislation sounds like a good thing until you read what is actually in the thing. Here is just a smattering of what I found before blood started shooting out of my eyes, and what I think the battle to stop it will revolve around:

SECTION 6. The Environmental Review Commission, as part of its ongoing study of the allocation of water resources in the State required by Section 1 of S.L. 2007?518, shall study whether and to what extent private groundwater wells and the use of water produced by private groundwater wells should be regulated by the State or units of local government. The Environmental Review Commission shall report its findings and recommendations, including any legislative proposals, to the General Assembly as provided by Section 1 of S.L. 2007?518, as amended.

There has been a series of denials by members of the General Assembly that anything like putting meters on private wells is under consideration, including this video (the meat of the matter is at 4m 15s to 5 minutes).

The vote, at least in the western delegation from the mountains, is mostly along party lines, with Democrats voting for it, and Republicans against. Since the General Assembly in North Carolina has a Democratic majority, the reading of bills is mainly a formality, as there is little discussion allowed on the majority of legislation…most of the work is done in conference committees. The last state budget was approved in less than half an hour with no discussion on the floor allowed by the Democratic Leadership.

For more information, check out the bill for yourself.