Long coastlines, tidal plains, vast piedmont, and the heights of the Appalachian Mountains make up the diverse regions of the state of North Carolina. This diversity plays a role in the varying water quality from city to city.
North Carolina draws its water supply from underlying aquifers and surface water consisting of lakes, streams, and rivers. Once obtained, the water is treated in one way or another and sent on to homes and businesses for use.
Given the variety of landscapes, North Carolina features many different industries. From a booming agricultural scene to a research and technology center that rivals the great Silicon Valley, there are many different influences on the water supply.
Common Water Problems by City
The myriad inputs into the water supply create a variety of issues. While each city is unique and faces different challenges, there are similarities as well.
Hard water with some discoloration is not uncommon, as North Carolina sources its water from mineral-laden supplies.
The Catawba River
Mountain Island Lake
High in Magnesium
High in Calcium
Falls Lake Reservoir
Little River Reservoir
The Yadkin River
Recently crowned one of the fastest growing metro areas in the United States, Charlotte has a population of almost one million people. Keeping everyone supplied with water requires sourcing it from three natural supplies.
The earth metal of magnesium is found in abundance in the water supplies around Charlotte. While not unsafe by any means it leads to the alkaline water called hard water.
Left untreated, hard water can cause dry skin, limescale buildup on faucets, and long term issues with appliances.
Water travels over and under the ground before it arrives to treatment plants in Raleigh. This path leads to a high mineral content that can cause a number of non-toxic issues for residents of the Capital city.
Discoloration is caused by a higher content of certain minerals. While it may be off-putting, it is certainly safe to consume as it is treated prior to distribution.
These same minerals and earth metals lead to a condition called hard water. This causes dry skin, itchy scalps, and other physical issues for some in Raleigh. It can also lead to inefficiency of heating and cooling units in the long run.
Two nearby lakes supply Greensboro with all the water it requires. This water is treated at one of two facilities before heading to taps around the city.
Unfortunately, the treatment process can lead to a bit of an unpleasant taste when consuming the water. Treatment makes it safe to consume but causes other issues.
Hard water is prevalent as both lakes provide ample minerality. Unchecked, this can lead to issues with appliances as limescale and white scale can cause costly buildups.
Durham lies just a few minutes from the capital city of Raleigh. Despite their close proximity, they do not share a water supply. Durham chooses Lake Michie and the Little River Reservoir rather than taking water from Falls Lake Reservoir.
Despite the different supply, the cities deal with nearly identical challenges when it comes to their water.
Hard water is an issue in many Durham homes. It causes dry skin, unsightly limescale, and plumbing issues where the buildup of limescale gets bad enough.
Like most North Carolina cities, Winston-Salem has hard water to deal with. The natural water supplies feature minerals and earth metals that lead to this common issue.
Winston-Salem prides itself on the cleanliness of its water but treatment facilities do not impact the hard water problem. While not dangerous to ingest, it can cause unpleasant symptoms physically like itchy, dry skin.
Hard water has been known to cause issues with appliances and plumbing if a buildup occurs.