Charlotte Water Quality: Yesterday
Charlotte is blessed with many natural streams, and early settlers drew their water from these streams and local private wells. By 1881, the city had outgrown the numerous private wells and the Charlotte Water Company was established to develop a reliable water supply system. In 1900, a 5 million gallon-a-day filtration plant and pumping station was built on Irwin Creek to supply water to the growing city. Less than three years later, another pumping station, the Catawba River Pump Station, was built to keep up with demand. By 1911, the Catawba River Pump Station was failing to meet demand, and city officials resorted to shipping water by train into the city while a new water intake facility on the Catawba River was constructed.
City officials built a 60 million gallon reservoir in 1917 to help bolster the water supply to keep up with the growing population. A manmade reservoir, Mountain Island Lake, was constructed to provide drinking water for Charlotte and surrounding Mecklenburg County. Charlotte has grown by 94% over the last 96 years and city planners have continued to build a system of reservoirs and treatment plants to meet demand.
Photograph appears courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room – Charlotte Mecklenburg Library