Water Resources

The TJCOG Water Resources Program facilitates intergovernmental partnerships and provides technical assistance to sustainably manage water supply and water quality across jurisdictional lines. As our region’s population grows, the need for cooperation between local governments, state and federal agencies, environmental organizations, and higher educational institutions in the region only increases. TJCOG serves as a neutral facilitator of regional water resource management efforts detailed below, and also help local governments achieve their goals through providing technical assistance on a range of topics including (but not limited to) watershed planning and stormwater infrastructure mapping, management and education.

Jordan Lake One Water

In the Triangle region, the Jordan Lake Watershed is a resource utilized by 10 counties, 27 municipalities and nearly 700,000 customers. As the region grows and faces more challenges relating to water quality and water supply, coordination and strategic policy are imperative. An initiative of TJCOG, the Jordan Lake One Water Association brings together all stakeholders from the public and private sectors to conduct planning for the watershed, recommend policy to the State legislature, and implement an integrated water management strategy for all Jordan Lake users. Most unique, TJCOG serves as a neutral coordinator and facilitator for the effort and provides critical liaison support between stakeholders, regulatory agencies, and other entities. Find out more on the JLOW webpage.


9-Element Watershed Action Plans

NCDEQ and the US EPA support the 9-element watershed action plan format as the starting point for water quality improvement. TJCOG has worked with local government and stakeholder groups to develop the following watershed action plans below. They outline causes of watershed pollution and recommendations and prioritized projects to restore and protect water and ecosystems.

NCDEQ approved these plans as complying with EPA's 9 minimum elements of a watershed plan. This makes local governments and nonprofits in the Upper Middle Creek and Dry Creek watersheds eligible for 319 grant funding to restore rivers, lakes and streams impacted by nonpoint source pollution. Restoration projects outlined in these plans, and potentially other projects that meet plan goals, are eligible for 319 grants to restore waterways in these two watersheds that are designated as "impaired" according to NCDEQ's most recent monitoring data as shown on their annual 303d list.

Upper Middle Creek Watershed Action Plan

(Developed in partnership with Wake Soil and Water Conservation District, Holly Springs, Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Cary)

Dry Creek Watershed Action Plan

(Developed in partnership with Chatham County Soil and Water Conservation District, Watershed Protection and Environmental Health Departments, as well as the Haw River Assembly and Biocenosis, LLC)

These Watershed Action Plans are living documents that can be updated as new information becomes available. Please contact staff below with any new data, policies, or projects relevant to add to the plans above, or questions about restoration projects eligible for 319 grant funds.

Further resources on developing 9-element watershed plans are available below:
PowerPoint introduction to 9-element plans
EPA's Quick Guide to developing 9-element plans

Clean Water Education Partnership (CWEP)

For in-depth information about the Clean Water Education Partnership (CWEP) and how you can help protect water quality in North Carolina, please visit the CWEP Website.

The Clean Water Education Partnership aims to protect North Carolina’s waterways from stormwater pollution through public education and outreach.  The Clean Water Education Partnership (CWEP) is a cooperative effort among local governments to educate citizens about protecting water quality in the Tar-Pamlico, Neuse and Cape Fear River Basins.  CWEP Partners provide funding and support for CWEP. Cooperators have helped CWEP by providing radio and television spots and images for the CWEP website.

 Please contact your local government's stormwater department if you have questions about stormwater/water quality issues in your area.  If you have a question or comment regarding Clean Water Education Partnership program, resources or would like to join, please email Emily Barrett at ebarrett (at) tjcog.org and Beth Davis at bdavis (at) tjcog.org. 

Triangle Water Supply Partnership (formerly Jordan Lake Partnership)

The importance of water supply planning and development on a regional basis has taken on a greater urgency as the Triangle region and the entire Southeastern United States have experienced two historically severe droughts since 2001.  Joint planning and development of sustainable water supply is critical to the future of the region and state.

The Triangle Water Supply Partnership (TWP) was formed in 2018 by 13 jurisdictions and water systems in the Triangle, wishing to continue and strengthen the valuable water supply planning work and collaborative efforts initiated by the Jordan Lake Partnership (JLP).  Learn more about What We Do.  

Signature projects of the JLP include an award-winning Regional Water Supply Plan as well as an Interconnection Model.

Benefits of collaborative efforts include:

  • Improved cooperation between local water utilities and ease of regulatory oversight;
  • Reduced unit costs for projects through economies of scale;
  • Increased flexibility and reliability of local water supplies, especially during droughts and other dynamic events;
  • Enhanced ability to comply with federal and state drinking water standards;
  • Sustainable use of regional drinking water resources

 Contact: Emily Barrett, Environment and Resilience Program Manager at ebarrett (at) tjcog.org.

Triangle Area Water Supply Monitoring Project

Ensuring sufficient water supply and determining long-standing water provisions have quickly become some of the most pressing issues affecting our area. Due to our reliance on surface water for water supply and the potential impact of growth on the quality of the region's water supply sources, it is crucial to understand the quantity, quality, and availability of drinking water to sustain the region in the face of this rapid growth. The Triangle Area Water Supply Monitoring Project is an expansive and adaptive effort among Chatham County, Orange County, the Town of Apex, the Town of Cary, the City of Durham, the Town of Hillsborough, the Town of Morrisville, Orange Water and Sewer Authority and the USGS that responds to emerging water quality issues, identifies trends and historical impacts, and comprises one of the most robust and continuous water supply datasets in the country.

 Contact: Emily Barrett, Environment and Resilience Program Manager at ebarrett (at) tjcog.org.

Upper Cape Fear River Basin Association

TJCOG co-administers the  Upper Cape Fear River Basin Association (UCFRBA) along with the Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC). UCFRBA is a coalition of local governments and private industries in the upper reaches of the Cape Fear River basin who rely upon the resources of the river.  This 501(c)3 non-profit organization was created in February 2000 in parallel with similar organizations representing the large water users in the Middle Cape Fear and Lower Cape Fear River Basins. UCF Map

The UCFRBA provides water quality monitoring and leads projects to improve water use and water quality management of the Deep River, Haw River, and New Hope Creek subbasins of the river, as well as to satisfy federal NPDES wastewater discharge permits. The UCFRBA also serves as an ongoing forum for interested parties to work together on water resources planning, management and protection issues.   

If you are interested in learning more about the UCFRBA, please visit our About page, or contact Grace Messinger at gmessinger (at) ptrc.org and Emily Barrett at ebarrett (at) tjcog.org to join our Listserv and stay up-to-date on UCFRBA news. 

The TJCOG Region contains portions of two major river basins, the Cape Fear River Basin (which contains Jordan Lake) and the Neuse River Basin (which contains Falls Lake).   These large rivers and multipurpose reservoirs along with a number of smaller groundwater and surface water sources provide water to all residents of the region.