North Carolina Water Dispute Remains in Mediation
A complicated water dispute involving three counties in North Carolina in the United States has been mired in a slow-moving mediation process for eight months, but will remain there for the time being instead of heading to court.
The dispute goes back to 2011, when Granville County, anticipating a rise in water demand due to new residential developments, purchased 1.5 million gallons of water per day supplied by neighboring Henderson County at the cost of $9 million.
Oxford County asserts that according to the 1973 water agreement that governs the Kerr Lake Regional Water System, they control the water taps in Granville County and have the right to profit from the water dispensed there. Granville and Henderson counties both disagree with this interpretation and have refused to recognize Oxford County’s supposed rights. They also argue that before it can even assert these rights, the water system would have to move the Oxford country meter, which measures water use, inside Oxford country borders. Henderson country says this has not been done, and thus no other provisions of the agreement can be enforced.
Despite the unproductive mediation, all three counties have agreed to remain in mediation for the time being as opposed to taking the matter to the court system. The counties share borders and have a long history of cooperation and shared expenses, which has made the mediation process, while unproductive so far, relatively friendly. If no agreement can be reached, Oxford will have no other recourse than a lawsuit.