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.
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.
The Water Resources Collaborative (WRC) has been administered by Triangle J Council of Governments (TJCOG) since 2004. The WRC meets quarterly throughout the year, including three joint meetings with the Smart Growth Collaborative on topics of mutual interest; in addition, technical teams or small group meetings may be created on an as-needed basis to develop or respond to specific initiatives. The role of TJCOG is to convene the WRC as a group of parties interested in furthering integrated water resources management in the region, and facilitate collaborative and informative meetings. Find past meeting materials on the SG/WRC page.
The WRC provides an opportunity for TJCOG to respond to several needs identified in the water resources community:
- A desire by many elected officials, staff, and entities involved in water management to have a mechanism for information exchange within the region.
- Provide education and awareness of the importance of water resource conservation through unified water management to lawmakers and enforcers.
- Provide input to state initiatives related to water resources.
- Promote sound principles of water quality, quantity, and value in regional planning using an integrated “One Water” approach
- Serve as an information exchange, including the sharing of resources and needs between member entities regarding water management, as well as innovative policies, programs, and techniques from within our region and across the nation
- Update participants on development in other water resources groups around the regions
- Provide an opportunity for input and response to state legislative and executive initiatives
- Share pertinent case studies and legal outcomes from other areas of the country that may help focus regional efforts and provide alternative strategies
- Provide a platform for guest speakers and presenters to share knowledge with the Collaborative and stimulate thoughtful discussion amongst all participants
- Provide a ‘level playing field’ for Collaborative members across the water management spectrum
- Integrate with TJCOG Smart Growth Collaborative as needed
Structure & Membership
The WRC is chaired by elected officials and staffed by TJCOG employees. Collaborative representatives are designated by member local governments, while meetings are open to all interested persons. Participants are drawn from five types of organizations:
- Local and state governments, including elected and appointed officials, managers, and staff from departments addressing stormwater, permitting, sustainability, water infrastructure, and other water quality and quantity-related programs;
- University departments, such as the UNC Policy Collaboratory, the NCSU Water Resources Research Institute, the NCSU Cooperative Extension, and Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment;
- Regional non-governmental organizations that address watershed protection, planning, and conservation issues, such as The Conservation Fund, the NC Conservation Network, and the Conservation Trust for NC;
- Private organizations, such as environmental consultants, agribusinesses, and technology firms;
- Civic groups with an interest in watershed protection, planning, and conservation issues.
Maya Cough-Schulze, Water Resources Planner | mcough-schulze (at) tjcog.org | (919) 558-9389
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 contact Maya Cough-Schulze, Water Resources Planner at mcough-schulze (at) tjcog.org or (919) 558-9389.
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
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, Natural Resources and Resilience Program Manager at ebarrett (at) tjcog.org.
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.
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 Maya Cough-Schulze at mcough-schulze (at) tjcog.org to join our Listserv and stay up-to-date on UCFRBA news.