This morning, the House Environment Committee Heard three water bills HB 586 (Enhance Water Supply Funding), HB 609 (promote water supply development) and HB 787 (NC Water Efficiency Act). These three bills were presented as a trio in order to finance water reservoirs, promote the development of water supply reservoirs, and to improve the efficiency of use of North Carolina’s water resources.
House Bills 586 and 609 passed swiftly through the committee with few concerns and comments raised as the legislators agreed that both would help to streamline the reservoir acquisition process.
Currently, House Bill 787 stipulates that local governments providing public water services shall produce a local water supply plan that includes current water consumption and projected water consumption. Due to previous droughts that North Carolina has encountered, additions are being proposed to this bill in order to reduce the long term demand of water.
Rep. McGrady presented the new PCS that was modeled after Georgia’s new water conservation legislation. Staff noted that this bill is the first small step to increase water efficiency in North Carolina by adding requirements to the water supply plans, promoting efficiency of use, and through local incentive programs.
Rep. Iler raised the issue about penalties to local governments that do not implement these incentive programs. Staff for Rep. McGrady responded that the only penalty would be to deny local government of state funding in an application for a new reservoir.
Rep. Moore was concerned that after these changes are adopted that administrative requirements would cost local governments too much money. He noted that in the past these types of techniques have been used to stop Reservoir creation and can also hurt luring businesses to North Carolina. Rep. Moore asked that the bill be displaced.
HB 787 will be presented to the committee next week along with the other two bills that make up the trio.