A Survey of Other Local Water Intakes
In order to better understand the limited nature of Beech Mountain’s secondary water intake requirements it is useful to examine how the towns of Boone and Johnson City have addressed their water requirements.
Boone completed its water intake on the South Fork of the New River in February 2019. The New River, a Federal Scenic River, has an average daily water flow of about 49 million gallons per day. Boone plans to withdraw up to 4 million gallons per day from the New.
Johnson City has been withdrawing water from the Watauga River since the early 1960s. At present Johnson City withdraws up to 24 million gallons per day from the Watauga, which has an average daily flow of 300 million gallons per day. Most of Johnson City’s water, after usage, is treated and returns to the Watauga.
In contrast, Beech Mountain is seeking permits to withdraw an average of 500,000 gallons per day from the Watauga River during times of drought. This water would be treated by Beech’s new water treatment plant and most of it will be used by residents, treated by Beech’s sewage treatment facility, and returned to the Watauga River.