Long Range Water Resources Plan

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Cary is committed to proactive, comprehensive planning to guide the future of our community, including effective water resources management. The Town of Cary’s Long Range Water Resources Plan (LRWRP) is our roadmap to ensure current and future citizens can rely on high-quality, safe, affordable and reliable water and wastewater services. The Plan guides the development of our water supply and management solutions and helps staff understand the evolving behaviors of residential and commercial water demand which influence the future need for water supply and wastewater management facilities. 

The LRWRP was completed in 2013, and an update was completed in 2018. 

Long Range Water Resources Plan Update

Town of Cary staff worked with staff of Apex, Morrisville and Wake County through a structured process to develop the initial 2013 LRWRP.

In 2018, staff from Cary, Apex and Morrisville collaborated on the LRWRP Update. View the 2018 Update:

Using various tools, including Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), the trend of efficient water usage can be seen across Town:
  • Residential per-capita water use has declined 30 percent in the past 20 years.
  • Water use for irrigation is declining as permits dropped from one-third of new homes to about 13% over the past six years.

The LRWRP takes a strategic long view – through 2065 – to meet the Town’s water resources challenges in a dynamic and holistic way through development of a Water Resources Portfolio. The portfolio provides a mix of practical strategies that the Town can apply to meet its water resources responsibilities by implementing the right actions at the right time.

The Cary Community Plan provides a framework for structuring future growth and redevelopment which the LRWRP Update has adopted in forecasting future water and wastewater infrastructure demands. The sustained trend toward lower per capita water use and less landscape irrigation support a forecast that the Town’s ultimate water supply and utility infrastructure needs will be slightly lower than previous forecasts. Our water supply “portfolio” positions the Town well to accommodate anticipated residential, commercial and mixed-use development on our horizon.

Outcomes of the 2013 LRWRP’s recommended portfolio were to obtain additional Jordan Lake Water Supply Allocation (more information below), to modify our Interbasin Transfer Certificate and to continue best-management practices like the Town’s water conservation and reclaimed water programs. These recommendations have been implemented.

Jordan Lake Round 4 Allocation Application

Cary gets its water supply from B. Everett Jordan Lake and operates the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility (CAWTF) to deliver drinking water to customers in Cary, Apex, Morrisville and the Wake County portion of Research Triangle Park. The State of North Carolina owns the water supply storage in Jordan Lake and periodically allocates that storage to units of local government. The NC Environmental Management Commission (EMC) makes allocation decisions. The NC Division of Water Resources (DWR) manages the allocation process in support of the EMC.

Cary submitted a final application in November 2014 for the round four allocation process that supports future water supply needs for Cary, Apex, Morrisville and the Wake County portion of Research Triangle Park. The request was consistent with the Long Range Water Resources Plan and with the Jordan Lake Partnership's Triangle Regional Water Supply Plan. In March 2017, the EMC approved the  requested increase in allocation of the Jordan Lake water supply pool from 39 percent to 46.2 percent. This is expected to meet the water supply needs of Cary, Apex, Morrisville and the Wake County portion of Research Triangle Park past 2045 and represents an available water supply of 46.2 million gallons per day. 

Learn more about the North Carolina Division of Water Resources allocation process.


Sarah Braman, PE
Water Resource Engineer
Utilities Department

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