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Settlement reached in Catawba-Wateree case

After three years, North and South Carolina have reached an agreement regarding the use of water in the Catawba-Wateree River Basin.

The Bi-State Catawba-Wateree River Basin Advisory Commission, enacted after South Carolina became worried about water supply and sued North Carolina in 2007, agreed to accept a settlement.  The agreement between 70 parties in the basin is expected to resolve the lawsuit between the states.

A telephone conference between state leaders and Kristin Linsley Myles, the U.S. Supreme Court’s special master in the water-rights case, will likely be held next week to finalize the next steps to dismiss the case.

South Carolina had sued over how much water would potentially be removed from the Catawba River in a Concord-Kannapolis interbasin river transfer.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said he was happy that the commission ”has been able to reach a fair resolution that will help preserve critical natural resources for both states.”

According to the proposed settlement, during droughts both states will implement response plans. The settlement also calls for certain policies, such as notifications to both states and public hearings, to be followed whenever there is a request for an interbasin transfer.

The agreement also restricts the two states from pursuing legal action against each other in the U.S. Supreme Court as long as each state follows the settlement agreement.

Future disagreements over the water in the Catawba-Wateree River Basin will be resolved by the commission.

Tara Ramsey can be reached at tara.ramsey@mecktimes.com.

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