Polk, Henderson counties to discuss Lake Adger plan

Published 3:08 pm Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bill Moyer, chairman of the Henderson County board, said his county is eventually going to need more water in the southern end of the county. He adds that Henderson County has unresolved issues with the City of Hendersonville concerning recent water restrictions. Henderson County also has an unresolved dispute over water with the City of Asheville.

Polk County announced earlier this year its plan to purchase Lake Adger for $1.6 million and construct a water treatment plant.

The county has been proceeding with plans to reclassify through the state the Green River and Lake Adger for a public water source.&bsp; The county has said it hopes to hear soon from the state whether the reclassification has been approved, and it&squo;s planning to close on the Lake Adger purchase this month.

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Northbrook, which currently owns Lake Adger, has been working on a seismic study and flood study of the Lake Adger dam and Polk County has been in the process of completing a water quality study for the lake. The studies are expected to be complete prior to Polk County&squo;s closing on the lake.

Whitson says the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been gathering comments from both the city of Saluda and Henderson County prior to making its reclassification decision since the watershed ordinance affects both entities.

Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson met recently with Saluda officials and gained the support of the town&squo;s elected leaders for the reclassification. The reclassification requires stricter land use restrictions in areas upstream from the water intake.

The reclassification would have had no impact on Henderson County if the state had classified the Green River watershed as Polk requested. Polk sought a Water Supply III classification, designed for waters that are generally in low to moderately developed watersheds. But the state chose to classify it as a Water Supply IV, which covers waters in moderately to highly developed watersheds.

The Water Supply IV designation extends the affected watershed area into areas of Henderson County.

If the reclassification is approved, Polk County commissioners say they plan to proceed with construction of the treatment plant and of distribution lines that would take water from Lake Adger to various parts of the county.

The county is also working on a project to extend water from a new line planned across the southeast corner of the county to connect Broad River Water Authority and the Inman Campobello Water District. County officials say they would like that line to connect to the Lake Adger system, which also eventually could connect to the municipal water systems.