State environmental leaders are starting a yearlong study of North Carolina's water supply and future demand.
They're considering several questions, including whether to give state regulators more power in allocating water to local communities.
The effort was spurred by a continuing dispute with South Carolina, which opposes plans by two upstream North Carolina cities to pump 10 million gallons a day from the Catawba River. The river provides drinking water and electricity to both states.
State leaders believe similar disputes could develop between North Carolina communities, because according to Census figures, 12 million people are expected to live in North Carolina by 2030.