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Jeffrey A. Steinmetz
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
Francis Marion University
One Glass for Two People: A Case of Water Use Rights in the Eastern United States

This case study focuses on the growing issue of water use rights in the southeastern United States. Approximately 1.3 million people in North and South Carolina depend on the Catawba-Wateree River for water and electricity. The river is also important for recreation and real estate development.  To meet growing water demands, elected officials in Concord and Kannapolis, NC, petitioned their state government to approve an inter-basin transfer (IBT) of 25 million gallons of water a day from the Catawba River. Other towns in North Carolina and South Carolina that are part of the Catawba-Wateree watershed fought this request for water transfer. For this exercise, students are divided into teams that take the role of different stakeholders trying to negotiate a settlement to this lawsuit. In the course of the debate, students address fundamental legal, ethical, and environmental questions about water use.