City of Asheville provides virtual presentation about completion of the North Fork Dam Improvement Project

dam gates and chute improvements
The dam's spillway chute overlay is complete and new gates have been installed.

After more than two years of construction, the North Fork Dam Improvement Project is nearing completion. This will deliver to our community a safer dam with more capacity to hold water from the reservoir and one that is better enforced against potential seismic activity.

It is scheduled to be fully operational as of Oct. 31.

As this project nears completion, the City of Asheville reached out to the community on the City’s Virtual Engagement Hub, asking what remaining questions people may have. At 6:30 p.m. Aug. 17, the City will post a pre-recorded presentation about this project that provides an overview of the dam improvements and answers the questions submitted. That presentation will be available at as well as posted on the City of Asheville YouTube channel. Please join us at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 17 as well as anytime afterward to view the presentation.


Here is the presentation


The North Fork Reservoir and Water Treatment Plant serve as the City’s primary drinking water source, providing 70% of Asheville’s water. With so many people, businesses, and industries dependent upon this critical natural resource, special care and proactive measures were taken to protect and preserve the dam infrastructure and  water source.


It’s important to take into account that flooding was occurring in this region prior to and after the dam’s construction in the 1950s. Also, the North Fork Watershed represents just 21% of the Swannanoa River watershed basin. Many of the impacts that the community experiences come from the remaining 79% of the Swannanoa River watershed.


After the floods in 2004 and in response to the extensive damage that occurred, the City took measures to try to help mitigate flooding through adaptive use of the dam. The City adopted a temporary Flood Operations Plan.  The Flood Operation Plan provided a mechanism to preserve the integrity of the dam while holding back some precipitation during severe storm events.  Since 2006, the City has been operating under this temporary Flood Operations Plan.


The City has always intended to stop using the temporary Flood Operations Plan once improvements were made to the dam. The dam will now be safer for extreme storm events. These improvements ensure the dam’s infrastructure can withstand extreme storm events without the concern for overtopping or damaging the dam.  As the lake level rises, extra volume will be contained within the two spillways.

This will better protect the health and safety of our community by ensuring an ample supply of pristine drinking water.


Join us at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 17 for a more detailed presentation about the North Fork Dam Improvement Project. Get information about how to prepare for extreme weather events by accessing the City’s Climate Resilience Resource Guide.  

 Thank you in advance for your participation in the City of Asheville’s new Virtual Engagement Hub.