Hope Mills' Dams set to reopen

January 22, 2008 5:26:03 PM PST
Two Hope Mills Dams breached by flood waters in 2003 are set to re-open this year.

The town hopes to turn the recreational lakes into potential drinking water supplies.

Hope Mills Mayor Eddie Dees is on a mission in light of the current drought conditions, he wants Hope Mills Lake and Lake Upchurch to be used as reservoirs.

Both Lakes were drained in 2003 when their dams broke because of floods. However, both creeks that feed into them are strong.

"You know, there's never been a loss of water in Big Rockfish or Little Rockfish Creek; Big Rockfish also feds Upchurch Lake," Dees said.

Cumberland County has not been extremely impacted by the drought, thanks in part to the Cape Fear River.

However, Dees says projected growth in the state makes developing alternative water sources imperative.

"If they take the lock and dams out of Cape Fear River, that's going to reduce the drinking supply there," he said. "So, you know, it's there and I think it's important that we tap into it and have it available."

The spillway is just about completed and when Hope Mills Lake and Lake Upchurch are filled, they will provide two extra reservoirs.

"Even if it's not for drinking water; if it's just for agricultural reservoir or for other things" Dees said. "You could use it for hydro-electricity. You could use it for environmental habitat."

The Big problem is money. According to a 199 Feasibility study, it would have cost $3 million to turn Hope Mills Lake into a reservoir. That could have held a 60 day water supply.

The state never allocated the money, but, with the serve drought has politicians paying closer attention to potential solutions to the water crisis.


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