What forms of partnerships exist between water systems in North Carolina? How many
water systems are physically interconnected and what are their characteristics? What are the geographically feasible
interconnection options for water systems that are currently not connected? What should a utility consider
while creating a new inter-local water agreement? Are there other forms of water system management
partnerships that do not depend on physically connecting two water systems?
After extensively reviewing and creating databases, examining hundreds of interlocal agreements, and working
closely with certain communities across NC that are attempting to create new regional partnerships, we produced
the following tools, documents and trainings to answer these questions and to assist water system managers in their
capacity to partner with their neighboring systems.
It is strongly recommended to view the full screen version of this interactive map.
The EFC has worked with Public Water Supply Section of the Division of Water Resources in the NC Department of Environment
and Natural Resources to inventory and map all of the water system interconnections across the state. In recent years, we compared interconnections data across different
datasets from PWSS and the DWR, and contacted water systems directly to verify information, and we currently maintain a comprehensive database of all water system interconnections
in the state. The information is provided to you in the form of an interactive map on the web, with additional layers of information, such as the latest Drought Monitor
status, to allow you to consider potential water system partnerships with neighboring systems.
The interactive map of water system interconnections displays all of the active
community water systems' interconnections, whether for emergency or regular purchases, as known by the
Public Water Supply Section. The latest update uses data as of October 2012. The lines do not represent the actual location of the pipes, nor do the points
represent the location of actual water system facilities. The lines connect two random points within the service areas of the
water systems that are interconnected. Click on any line or point in the map to read about the interconnection, water system,
or turn on or off layers of data. If there are any corrections, please email Shadi Eskaf.
Since 2002, water systems in the Central Coastal Plains of North Carolina have faced mandatory
cutbacks on groundwater withdrawals, which has led to a significant increase in the number of interconnections
between systems in the region. Here is a Google map of the water system interconnections as they were in the
Coastal Plains in 2002 before the cutbacks, and again as they
in 2008; these data were obtained directly from utility managers as part of this project.
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||After reviewing hundreds of interlocal agreements between water systems in North Carolina, mostly focused on bulk sales agreements, we
have created Crafting
Inter-Local Water Agreements: Tips Relating to Issues You May Not Have Thought of or that You Were Hoping to Avoid (pdf) in June 2009.
The tips are written in the form of answers to a key set of questions that we believe should be asked (and in most cases
addressed) as agreements are developed. Many of these tips apply to creating a water purchase agreement, whether or regular use or for
We welcome and seek comments from practitioners to improve the tips. Please email Jeff Hughes with your comments.
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||An assessment of the existing network of interconnections between North Carolina's 2,124
community water systems, for emergency and regular use, and their characteristics. This report also describes and applies
a new methodology developed to determine the most geographically feasible options available for potential interconnections
for water systems currently not on the receiving end of any interconnection. This GIS analysis takes into account the
geographical challenges of transporting water, such as topology, environmental and infrastructure barriers, and determines
the optimal route for potential interconnections between systems. Download the:
- Full report and all appendix maps below (pdf, 19 Mb)
- Full report with no appendix (pdf, 2.8 Mb)
- Appendix A - NC State Maps (pdf, 6.3 Mb)
- Appendix B - Maps in the Asheville DENR Region (pdf, 2 Mb)
- Appendix C - Maps in the Fayetteville DENR Region (pdf, 1.3 Mb)
- Appendix D - Maps in the Mooresville DENR Region (pdf, 1.3 Mb)
- Appendix E - Maps in the Raleigh DENR Region (pdf, 1.5 Mb)
- Appendix F - Maps in the Washington DENR Region (pdf, 1.5 Mb)
- Appendix G - Maps in the Wilmington DENR Region (pdf, 1.3 Mb)
- Appendix H - Maps in the Winston-Salem DENR Region (pdf, 1.6 Mb)
Starting with the report above, the EFC authored a paper to be presented at the International Water Association's (IWA)
Leading Edge Conference on Strategic Asset Management (LESAM) in September 2011 in Germany. This
paper explores a method for developing an asset management database for community water systems and
interconnections for North Carolina. We begin with an overview of data collection and the current water
interconnection system. We then develop a method to assess where the most feasible location for a
future connection exists between neighboring community water systems while taking into consideration
geographic constraints and opportunities. We found that 31% of the community water systems in our study
(large systems or government-owned systems) do not currently purchase water, and of those 36% have a
"relatively cheap" geographically-feasible interconnection opportunity.
Download the conference paper titled Interconnections between Water Systems as an Incentive
for Asset Management (pdf)
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A comprehensive list of presentations are available on EFC's main Events and Trainings page, under the
Drinking Water and Wastewater subheading. All presentations and recorded webinars are
free to download. A small sample of related presentations and trainings are listed below. Click on any of the links to access
copies of the presentations and resources.
Tips on Regionalization: Crafting Interlocal Water Agreements and Water System Interconnections (pdf)
Lumber River COG: Water and Wastewater Regionalization and Sustainability Conference
September 20, 2012, Lumberton, NC
Shadi Eskaf provided tips on developing interlocal agreements for water purchases, and presenedt results of analysis showing the level of water system interconnectivity in NC.
Partnerships in Surry County, NC (pdf)
Water Partnership Summit in Surry County
March 30, 2010, Surry County, NC
Jeff Hughes and Andrew Westbrook from the EFC, and Lydian Altman and Rick Morse from the UNC
School of Government presented a summary of their year-long work promoting water
system partnerships among five units of local government in Surry County. The presentation
was made to the Water Partnership Working Group, elected officials and interested citizens.
System Interconnections and Interlocal Agreements Tips (pdf)
Environmental Finance Center Webinar Series
June 25, 2009, online webinar
The EFC has produced new draft guidelines for to assist in the creation of water system interlocal agreements. Essential information
and an inventory of the issues that need to be addressed in order to create successful interlocal agreement contracts were presented by Glenn Barnes and Jeff Hughes,
along with the status of water system interconnections in NC. Written
guidelines posted above.
Hot Topics in Water Finance and Governance
UNC Environmental Finance Center course and Local Government Training Program at Western Carolina University
October 22, 2009, Montreat, NC
Designing rate structures in North Carolina, monitoring utility finances, finding funding for
your source water protection, promoting conservation among utility customers, and avoiding
potential pitfalls in regional partnerships between water systems.
Interlocal Agreements that Work (pdf)
North Carolina Rural Water Association Conference
May 14, 2009, Greensboro, NC
Jeff Hughes presented to water system board members new research and
guidelines on crafting interlocal agreements to support interconnections
and water sales between water systems.
of North Carolina's Water Systems (pdf)
UNC Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering In-House
February 18, 2009, Chapel Hill, NC
Eskaf will present an overview of regionalization of water systems
in North Carolina, including the status of regionalization and a potential
new model for non-structural, management consolidation of small water
Models for Utility Partnerships (pdf)
North Carolina Rural Water Association
May 14-15, 2008, Greensboro, NC
A presentation on new models for utility
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The EFC provides direct assistance to several local governments and communities in NC that are/were
considering creating new interlocal agreements and partnerships to provide water services. Click here to read
about our work promoting inter-local water partnerships among five units of local government in Surry County, NC.
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There is evidence suggesting that systems that enter into partnerships
with other systems increase their capacity to provide high quality service to their customers.
These arrangements may take the form of simple bulk water sales agreements to full out
consolidation. Forging these types of quality partnerships can be extremely difficult for
many reasons including the lack of impartial mediators, lack of adequately reviewed agreements,
and proper financial assessments. One of the other obstacles facing the state and water systems
is the lack of readily accessible information concerning what types of partnerships are
technically and legally possible in a given area. The EFC provides support
to the Public Water Supply Section
to assess types of partnerships and carries out a
series of tasks to support the ability of systems in the state to enter into these agreements.
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