Ask a Ranger: Where does our water come from?

Aug. 03, 2013 @ 06:11 PM

As you fill your glass up with water at your sink, do you ever wonder where that water is coming from?

Whether it comes from a well or from city water, that water comes from a larger source. In this area, our water comes from Kerr Lake, a reservoir created by damming part of the Roanoke River, which is part of the Roanoke River Basin. N

Our state is home to 17 river basins. River basins are areas that water flows under (groundwater), or over on its way to a river and eventually out to an estuary or the sea.

The Roanoke River Basin is Kerr Lake’s main supplier of water. The Roanoke River begins in the southwestern Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains and ends about 400 miles away in the Albermarle Sound. 

Imagine how many people, animals and plant life in Virginia and North Carolina use and depend on the water that comes from the Roanoke River Basin! We use it for personal (drinking, bathing), agricultural, recreational (fishing, canoeing, swimming), and commercial (fishing, transportation of goods) uses along with many other things. 

Although it may seem that water is plentiful and will never run out, it is a finite resource, and as such it is important to be aware and concerned about water use and quality as we directly depend on it.

It is very important for us to understand that what goes on upstream directly impacts our lives. Just as important is that how we behave and manage our water source directly impacts our fellow citizens downstream. 

The biggest stressor on our water resource is the increasing demand for drinkable water and pollution.

We can be proactive and do our part by monitoring and tailoring our water use, mitigating/eliminating pollution  into our water source, and keeping up to date with how our water source is being managed from where it begins to where it goes out to sea. 


For questions or comments, contact Park Ranger Jessica Williams at (252) 438-7791. For upcoming programs, visit Kerr Lake State Recreation Area through ncparks.gov.