BEECH MOUNTAIN – The town of Beech Mountain will hold a workshop regarding its proposed water intake project on Tuesday, Feb. 25, from 2-4 p.m. at the town hall council chambers.
The purpose of the meeting is to “consider water sources and water intake from (the) Watauga River,” according to a notice sent by the town. Interested parties are invited to attend.
Interim Beech Mountain Town Manager Robert Pudney said on Feb. 7 that he’s moving forward with the plans for a water intake that were resumed by his predecessor Tim Holloman in 2018. Holloman was fired in December 2019.
Funds have been set aside recently, with Holloman previously saying the fund balance for the project would go up to $2.15 million in this budget cycle.
Acquiring a secondary water source has been a goal of the town of Beech Mountain for years. Currently, the town uses Buckeye Lake as its drinking water source. A drought in 2010 caused mandatory water restrictions in Beech Mountain as Buckeye Lake dropped to critical levels. The town was also left critically short of water for a week around Thanksgiving in 2018 due to a water gate valve malfunction at Buckeye Lake, which could only be repaired after the lake was mostly drained. Tanker trucks to help keep water in the town’s lines were brought in, as well as crates of bottled water for citizens.
Potentially drawing water from the Watauga River, located north of Beech Mountain in the Bethel community, has been proposed before. A previous effort in 2013 to gain a watershed reclassification for a water intake near Guy Ford Road was unanimously struck down by the Watauga County Commissioners. A number of residents from the Bethel community opposed Beech Mountain’s plan.
Beech Mountain Town Hall, where the workshop takes place, is located at 403 Beech Mountain Parkway.