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Chatham's estimated water needs are off target

By Elliot Cramer
Posted Wednesday, August 9, 2006

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Pittsboro, NC - Our commissioners elect said:

1. Hobbs Upchurch, the consulting firm that provides advice to the County on water supply issues, estimates that we could upgrade our current water intake (with Cary) and water treatment plant on Jordan lake to supply an average of 6 million gallons per day for a total cost of 11million dollars. It is estimated that this would provide an adequate water supply for at least 10 years. Jordan Lake is mostly in Chatham County and we should take advantage of it.

That is about six times current usage of 1.17mgd and is nonsense. As I told our commissioners in 2001, Hobb's estimates were based on peak demand whereas (according to the State) estimates of growth should be based on average demand. I presented the following table

Estimates of Chatham water sales -

From Cramer Statement to the Chatham Board of Commissioners
February 8, 2000

1997 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025
2.13 2.53 3.45 4.70 6.15 7.81 9.62 peak aggressive (Hobbs)
2.13 2.38 2.97 3.89 4.75 5.74 6.81 peak moderate (Hobbs)
0.83 0.93 1.16 1.51 1.85 2.24 2.66 average moderate
0.94 1.09 1.24 1.39 1.54 1.69 average Cramer

I computed the average moderate figure based on Hobb's data. His projection of average sales for 2015 (had he presented it) would have been 1.85mgd, not the 6mgd cited above. My lower figure was based on historic growth and must be adjusted for Bunkey et al. There will be no need to upgrade our plant to 6mgd for many many years (if ever).

Of course if Bunkey gets his way, we may be another Cary.

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