Water Conservation

What is a  Watershed?

A watershed is the area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes into the same place. Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes. In the continental US, there are 2,110 watersheds; including Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico, there are 2,267 watersheds.





What are the Jordan Lake Rules?

The Jordan Lake watershed is governed by legislation designed to address and reduce nutrient inputs to the lake watershed from both existing and future developments. Jordan Lake is one of the State’s biggest tourist attractions. It also serves as a municipal drinking water source for Cary, Pittsboro and other municipalities in central North Carolina. The Jordan Lake Rules are precedent-setting legislation that changes the policy landscape for land use and development in North Carolina.

While many of the rules are met through NPDES Phase II requirements, the Jordan Lake Rules require municipalities and Counties in the watershed to adopt additional measures to reduce nutrient inputs to the lake. These include specific nitrogen and phosphorus reductions, agriculture rules , more strigent requirements for new and existing developments and more substantial buffer zones.

NC DWQ’s Jordan Lake Rules site



The B. Everett Jordan Reservoir Water Supply Nutrient Management Strategy is a comprehensive set of thirteen rules designed to address excess nutrients, specifically nitrogen and phosphorus, in Jordan Lake that can lead to algae blooms and other water quality problems. Jordan Lake is an impoundment in the central Piedmont that drains a mixture of agricultural and urbanized lands forming the upper Cape Fear River Basin, including the west side of the Triangle and much of the Triad region. The lake serves as a water supply for almost a half-million people and also has significant recreational use.  The requirements of the strategy are similar to those already in place in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River Basins. The rules require all major sources of nutrients to reduce loading that makes it way to Jordan Lake to meet specific model-established percent reduction goals that are needed to restore water quality standards and full uses of the lake.

Because the Town of Ossipee is within the watershed of Jordan Lake, the Town (and it’s residents) are required to comply with what are commonly referred to as the Jordan Lake Rules. The 13 rules or session laws required Ossipee to begin several programs in 2009 that included a Retrofit Identification Program, an Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Program, a Stormwater Controls Measures Maintenance Program, and a Stormwater Public Education Program.

The Town’s Public Education Program consists primarily of this website, informational fliers, and printed utility inserts. The full program can be found at Town Hall.

The Town’s Retrofit Identification Program is required to annually identify one potential site within the Town limits and identify the availability and effectiveness of this site. The program does NOT require the Town to build the retrofit.

The Town’s Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Program is intended to identify and remove sources of common water pollution from reaching streams and rivers. This program will also include a large scale mapping program to identify the storm drainage network within Ossipee.

The Town’s Stormwater Controls Measures Maintenance Program is also known as a Best Management Practices (or BMP) Maintenance Program and it centers around the Town’s requirements that will guarantee the maintenance of future BMP’s or Stormwater Control Measures.

Eventually, the Town will be required to adopt a New Development Ordinance that will regulate new building within the Town in order to limit future increases in nutrient runoff. Additionally, the Town will also be required to reduce nutrient runoff from existing developed lands but the exact program and process for doing this is still unclear.


What is NPDES Phase II?

In 1987, the Clean Water Act was amended by Congress to target non point sources of pollution – or stormwater runoff. Phase II of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) affects local communities with populations of over 1,000.

Local governments are required to implement a comprehensive stormwater management program that address the following six main elements:

• Public Education

• Public Participation

• Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination

• Construction Site Runoff Control

• Post Construction Stormwater Management

• Good Housekeeping in Municipal & County Operations

Visit these websites for more information:





Helpful Information Sheets

Click on image to enlarge.

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Copyright 2012 Town of Ossipee