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Water resources of the Yadkin-Pee Dee River basin, North Carolina

January 1, 1957

Sufficient water is available in the basin of the Yadkin and Pee Dee Rivers to meet present requirements and those for many years to come if water use increases at about the present rate. Data presented in this report show that the average annual streamflow from approximately 82 percent of the basin area during the 25-year period, 1929-53, was about 6,200 mgd, representing essentially the total available water supply. Comparison of the available water supply to the estimated withdrawal use (excluding water power) of both surface and ground water of 600 mgd indicates the relative utilization of the water resources of the basin at present. If proper pollution controls are observed and practiced so that water in the various streams may be reused several times, the potential water available is even greater than indicated by the above comparison. Preliminary studies indicate that the quantity of water now being withdrawn from ground-water reservoirs in the basin is only a fraction of the total that may be obtained from this source.

Twenty-eight of the 64 municipalities having public water-supply systems use surface water; however, as the largest cities in the area use surface supplies, about 85 percent of the water used for public supplies is from surface sources.

Of the 20 complete-record stream-gaging stations now in operation in this area 7 have been in operation for 24 years or longer. Periodic measurements of the rate of flow have been made at 31 additional sites on streams scattered widely over the basin. All available streamflow data including those for 1953 are summarized in either graphic or tabular form, or both. Because of the critically low flows occurring during the drought of 1954, several illustrations include data for 1954 and the early months of 1955 for comparison with the minima of previous years.

Adequate water for domestic use is available from wells throughout the basin. The consolidated rocks of the Piedmont furnish water for small industries and for municipalities whose population is less than about 1,500. The yields of wells in rock range from less than 1 gpm to as much as 200 gpm with local, rather than regional, geologic factors controlling the yield. The average municipal well in consolidated rocks yields about 30 gpm. In contrast, the sands of the Coastal Plain, in the eastern part of the basin, furnish as much as 500 gpm to individual wells, and ground-water conditions are generally similar throughout that region. A cumulative deficiency in rainfall from 1953 to 1955, has caused ground-water levels to fall below the seasonal averages, but the decline is thought not to indicate a long-term trend. The most serious problem involving future use of ground water is the lack of knowledge of the characteristics of the ground-water provinces in the basin.

Generally the chemical quality of the surface waters in the Yadkin-Pee Dee River basin is good. They are low in mineral matter and soft, although some of the surface water contains excessive quantities of iron. In some local areas the streams have been polluted by municipal and industrial wastes. During periods of high runoff many of the streams transport large quantities of suspended sediment. Tributary streams in the lower eastern part of the basin are highly colored because of drainage from swampy areas.

Ground water from the consolidated rocks in the Piedmont region is more variable in quality than water from other areas in the basin. The dissolved solids in water from the consolidated rocks ranged from 26 to 1,480 ppm with a median of 109 ppm. Wells in the Cretaceous clay province normally yield slightly acid waters. The pH ranges from 4.7 to 7.7 with a median of 5.3. Generally ground water in this province is extremely soft and low in dissolved solids. Wells in the Cretaceous sand province yield a sodium bicarbonate type of water ranging in hardness from 2 to 130 ppm.

Publication Year 1957
Title Water resources of the Yadkin-Pee Dee River basin, North Carolina
DOI 10.3133/wsp1415
Authors Robert Eugene Fish, H. E. LeGrand, G. A. Billingsley
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water Supply Paper
Series Number 1415
Index ID wsp1415
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization South Atlantic Water Science Center