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Mecklenburg County's River Basins

Two river basins run through Mecklenburg County.  The Western two thirds of the county fall in the Catawba River Basin and the Eastern one third of the county is located in the Yadkin/Pee Dee River Basin.

Yadkin/Pee Dee River Basin

  • The Yadkin/Pee-Dee River system is the second largest in eastern America. 
  • The Yadkin River begins near Blowing Rock in the North Carolina Mountains and flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Georgetown, South Carolina. 
  • North Carolina's portion of the Yadkin River basin covers 7,200 square miles of land area and contains nearly 6,000 square miles of freshwater streams and rivers. 
  • By some estimates, one third of the Yadkin River consists of processed wastewater by the time it leaves North Carolina.
  • Between the years 1990 and 2020, the upper Yadkin Basin is projected to grow by nearly 18% or 233,000 new residents.

Catawba River Basin

  • The Catawba River Basin covers 3,285 square miles of land area and has 3,005 square miles of streams.
  • The river is impounded 11 times as it flows through 14 counties.  It provides drinking water to major cities like Hickory, Charlotte, Gastonia, Mount Holly and Belmont.  One of the impoundments, Mountain Island Lake, provides drinking water for 8% of the population of North Carolina. 
  • 40 acres of vegetated land a day is being cleared and developed in the Charlotte region. Developed land causes runoff into streams containing much higher levels of heavy metals, petroleum products and nutrients.
  • For the first time last summer, the Charlotte utility department detected MTBE, a carcinogenic gasoline additive in Charlotte's water supply. Officials believe gasoline from more powerboats and marinas on the Catawba River lakes is the cause.


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