SHERRILLS FORD, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Duke Energy is warning about low water levels along the Catawba River basin.
Lake Norman’s current reservoir is sitting around the equivalent of 94.9 feet, based on a 100-foot “full pond.” That’s 2.3 feet lower than Duke Energy’s target level.
Those who live and work along the lake said they’ve been able to notice the difference. Jeff Junker owns Mountain Creek Marina in Sherrills Ford. He showed Queen City News around parts of his property that are typically underwater.
“Normally it’s a gradual decline down to get to the floating part of the dock, and now it’s incredibly steep,” said Junker. “My water level is so shallow at my house that it’s hard to get my boat out.”
In fact, he said the water levels are the lowest he’s seen in years, as the counties the lake borders are under a moderate drought. Duke Energy confirmed the levels haven’t been this low since 2017.
“We need rain, and we need a pretty good amount of it,” said Duke Energy spokesperson Ben Williamson.
The utility company’s workers say they’re preparing to enter a drought Stage 0 sometime within the next few weeks. That means Duke Energy will start asking people to voluntarily conserve their water usage both indoors and out.
“Lake Norman is not the only lake below target, Williamson explained. It’s joined by Lake James, Lake Wylie and Lake Wateree.
Williamson said an unusually dry year is to blame for the steady decrease in water levels.
Though the reservoir is low, it’s not the lowest it’s been. Duke Energy said that record was set in 1977 when Lake Norman sat at just 88 feet deep.
For those who still plan on enjoying time out on the water, boating experts like Junker advise using extra caution.
“People [are] getting a little too close to shore, and normally in the year they can always go there no problem, and now they go through and hit a stump or something like that and have to get a new prop,” he said.