Water Conservation & Drought Management

At this time, the City of Asheville water customers are not under any water use restrictions.

The Water Resources Department is adhering to the drought and flood management plans. These plans have proven to be very accurate when comparing the forecast with actual experience. The department monitors the lake level and precipitation daily and will continue to follow the plans.

The City of Asheville water supply that serves Buncombe and a portion of Henderson County residents remains at an adequate supply. As always, the city reminds citizens that water is a precious natural resource and should be used wisely, especially during times of drought. This Web page will continue to be updated as needed to keep area residents informed of the water supply conditions while providing resources for water conservation tips.



The goal of the City of Asheville Water Resources Department is to operate its water production facilities in the most efficient manner possible. This includes ensuring optimal operation of the water production and distribution systems, including the production of high quality water, providing timely maintenance and repair of the water infrastructure, and promoting efficient and conservative use of regional water resources.

Our primary water source is a 6 billion gallon lake located in Black Mountain, North Carolina – the North Fork Reservoir. This lake is located within a 22,000 acre protected watershed. Along with the Bee Tree and the Mills River Water Treatment Plants, these facilities provide water to more than 125,000 area residents.

The City of Asheville uses a computerized drought management model to help predict future lake levels and drought conditions. This model takes into account current water levels, forecasted precipitation, past lake levels and recent rainfall to predict future drought conditions. In times of reduced rainfall or lowering lake levels, the drought management model may require implementation of pre-defined water conservation measures.

The city established a flood management plan in 2006 designed to help the city balance the risk of flood damages against its obligation to maintain a safe and reliable water supply system. The plan was designed to provide a degree of flood protection while minimizing the increase in drought risks.


  • Phase I - Voluntary Measures
The City asks its customers to conserve water as much as possible.
  • Phase II - Mandatory Measures
All customers must conserve water. No irrigation systems can be used, no watering lawns, no washing vehicles at home, reduce clothes washing, etc. Commercial customers are asked to conserve as much as possible while not impacting their revenue and employees' jobs.
  • Phase III - Surcharges Implemented
Additional charges per unit of water (each 748 gallons) may be imposed to encourage water conservation. Current rate surcharge is $1.40 per unit of water.

Water systems typically see a two percent reduction in water use with Voluntary Conservation Measures. Mandatory Measures usually add an additional two percent reduction. Surcharges typically add an additional six percent reduction in water usage.

Please continue to use our water wisely and conserve our most valuable natural resource!