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Minutes / Summary for 8/27 Eno Users Group Meeting Print
The purpose of this document is to summarize the technical and business aspects of the meeting held on 8/27//09 in Hillsborough to discuss the annual Eno River (Voluntary Capacity Agreement) Users Group meeting.  Buzz Koenig , Don Hierman , and Ken Terlep attended the meeting on behalf of the Friends of Lake Orange and Buzz presented three charts consistent with the presentation we reviewed at our Board Meeting the week of 8/17.  Our presentation went well and brought about a good level of insight as to the positions of each of the parties represented in the meeting.

Presentation Charts

Following are actions that Buzz, Don , and Ken took to ensure “due diligence” reviews with corresponding refinement of the presentation.  The chart presentation was intended to accomplish the following:

1.       Show the key aspects of the Lake Orange water withdrawal allocations as provided in the current “Eno River Water Management Plan which is the main aspect of the Voluntary Capacity Agreement.

2.       Discuss the new Hydrological Model and the emerging focus on using the “Drought of Record” as the criteria in evaluating the performance of reservoirs such as Lake Orange .

3.       Demonstrate that the permitted levels of withdrawals from Lake Orange are excessive when evaluated using the new Hydrological Model and for the recent Record Drought of 2007 / 2008.

4.       Request the Eno River Users Group to accept a work item to analyze the Upper Eno region using the Hydrological Model and to modify the permitted withdrawals to stay within the capability of Lake Orange to provide withdrawals when considering the critical periods of the worst droughts of record. 

Presentation Development and Review:

1.        Buzz, Don and Ken met for about 2 hours on 8/24 and went over the Pitch that Ken  had prepared.  A number of changes to the charts were adopted to clarify the intended messages.  

2.       On 8/26, Buzz and Ken met with John Tolar for almost 2 hours to show him the intended presentation.    We agreed to modify the pitch to make it more general and to remove any reference to the Worst Drought Safe Yield that had been calculated. 

3.       Ken updated several of the charts consistent with the discussions with John .  Buzz and Ken met later on 8/26 and eventually settled on the chart set which Buzz would present at the 8/27 meeting. 

The attached charts were presented at the meeting.  We settled on just a few charts in the interest of brevity.  The presentation promoted very important dialogue and permitted us to observe the various positions taken by the attending parties.


Meeting Attendees and Discussion:

The understanding we gained in the meeting is important as we contemplate a path to take forward our wishes.  One key finding from the meeting is that no user wants to take the lead in considering a change.  DWR also does not want to take a lead but wanted to steer any responsibility back to the User community.

Friends of Lake Orange :   As stated above:  Buzz, Don , and Ken attended the meeting.  Buzz did a very good job of presenting the charts provided.   A major benefit was obtaining the elicitation of the positions of the parties to our stated request.  The main issue I would like to have discussed but was not addressed was the concept of Worst Drought of Record as the emerging criteria for evaluation of capability.  North Carolina DWR does not currently use this and appears reluctant to change from a 20 Year Safe Yield approach.     This will have to be discussed in other forums.

Division of Water Resources:   DWR was represented by Linwood Peele who is the section chief assigned to provide oversight to the Voluntary Users Agreement, Wayne Howard who is an engineer who monitors the Upper Eno activity including Hillsborough, Orange Alamance, etc., and Tom Reeder who is the Director of the DWR.  It was very interesting that the Director attended this meeting and shows that the issues being discussed were not routine.   A number of very interesting comments were made by the DWR representatives that demonstrate how DWR views its role:

1.       Linwood Peele said there were two elements of the discussion, the Hydrological Model and the consideration of change to the Voluntary Capacity Use Agreement.  The Neuse Hydrological Model is a tool for users and not to be used by DWR for regulatory purposes.  DWR’s view is the Neuse River Basin Model will be considered completed and “ready for use” by the various users in October. 

2.       DWR  will not take the lead in evaluating the Eno River Water Management Plan or Voluntary Capacity Users Agreement.  The defined “users” must decide to take initiative if they wish to evaluate possible change.   If one or more users formally request the EMC (Environmental Management Commission), a formal "Reinvestigation" would take place and DWR would play a significant role in that effort.

3.       The defined users are Town of Hillsborough , Orange Alamance Utility, and Piedmont Minerals.

4.       Orange County is the operator of the Voluntary Users Agreement and has such status.  (Orange County is the “owner” of the land and water per the 1967 property transfer Deed – subject to rights retained by Lake Orange, Inc).

5.       Lake Orange, Inc. may be considered a “user” based on the rights retained for recreation but that position would need to be assessed before LOI would be recognized in granting action otherwise due to a stated user.

6.       The general view at the state level is that the Voluntary Capacity Agreement is working and is considered a "Model of Success" of such an agreement.

7.       Linwood Peele asked Orange County ( Kevin Lindley ) to consider taking the lead in addressing the request from the Friends of Lake Orange .

8.       The “net” here is that the DWR wished only to monitor agreements of users and wants any proposed change to be agreed to and recommended by the defined users and the associated local governments.

Orange County:   Kevin Lindley of OC Engineering attended as did Tom Davis of OC Planning.  Tom is the Water Resources Coordinator with emphasis on ground water (wells).

1.       Kevin expected the DWR to respond to the issue of water use as he thought there was a formal request from NC Division of Parks and Recreation and Eno River Association to reallocate the water designated to Piedmont Minerals to be used for additional Stream Augmentation.

2.       Kevin said he thought that there was no need for change as things were working well.

Orange Alamance Water Utility:   A representative from the utility said that:

1.       Orange Alamance currently uses about 0.3 MGD which is less than they are allocated from Lake Orange .  They operate typically 5 days per week.

2.       Orange Alamance also obtains between .3 MGD and .8 MGD from Haw River subject to a 20 year agreement that OA signed several years ago following the significant drought of 2001 / 2002.

Piedmont Minerals:   The representative from PM said that water use from the Eno ( Lake Orange as source) is extremely low based on a change to their manufacturing process.  The use is only a few thousand gallons per day as compared to the .43 MGD allocated for Stage 1 status.

Town of Hillsborough Water Utility :   Kenny Keel is the Director of the Utility and is the Town Engineer.

1.      He said that he was releasing extra water this summer in as much as the water level of the WFER was relatively high and he was mindful that Lake Orange’s water level could be maintained higher by his releasing extra.  This practice was in place in light of the fact that Piedmont Minerals was using much less than their allocation and Orange Alamance was using less than their allocation.

2.       Kenny said that he would not guarantee that the practice would continue if circumstances changed such as more use of water from other users and / or drought conditions developed.

Lake Orange, Inc.:   Attendees who stated that they were representing Lake Orange, Inc  were:

·         John Tolar, President

·         Lynette Hartsell,  Attorney

·         Cynthia Shiner, Attorney

John said he was thankful that the Town of Hillsborough ( Kenny Keel ) was paying attention to the water level at Lake Orange this summer and was releasing extra water from the WFER to permit Lake Orange to retain more water.

North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation:  Two representatives of the Division of Parks and Recreation attended and spoke.  Major focus is on the Eno River  and the water allocated to flow downstream from Hillsborough including flow to the West Point at the Eno in Durham . 

1.      One representative said that the Division had reluctantly agreed to the levels provided for Stream Augmentation as stated in the current Eno River Water Management Plan but they really want more allocated to the stream.

2.       The Division of Parks and Recreation wants the allocation from Lake Orange that currently is set for Piedmont Minerals.  The reps are waiting for the Hydrological Model to be able to examine the capability to reallocate the withdrawals.

3.       There was some discussion with DWR about whether there was a mechanism for the Division of Parks and Recreation to petition the EMC to get the extra allocation.

Eno River Association:     The representative was Robin Jacobs who is the Executive Director.

1.       She restated the positions above of the Division of Parks and Recreation which the Eno River Association has adopted. 

2.       She wanted to gain ability and access to use the Hydrological Model when available

3.       She offered the idea of the Eno River Association petitioning Orange County to host a Forum called the “Eno River Confluence” to discuss the various issues including the positions of all parties in getting water allocated from Lake Orange and in using the Hydrological Model.  She postulated doing that early in 2010.

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