Little River and Lake Michie Safety Improvements

Project update

This project is complete.


The Department of Water Management operates two source water supply reservoirs controlled by the Lake Michie Dam and Little River Dam. Both dams are classified as large, high-hazard structures by North Carolina Dam Safety. Raw water from the Lake Michie and Little River reservoirs is delivered to the Brown Water Treatment Plant and Williams Water Treatment Plant prior to treatment and distribution to water system customers. 

At Little River Dam, spillway roller gates are used to control the reservoir level during rainfall events. Inflow from the watershed during storms often causes large, floating log debris to collect on the spillway gates. Debris can become trapped underneath the steel gates when they are operated, causing damage when the gates are inadvertently closed on debris. In the past, damaged gate seals have resulted in loss of stored water. Severe damage to gates could lead to a serious dam safety issue if the ability to operate a gate during a flood event is impacted. A debris barrier is needed to keep log debris away from the dam and spillway gates. The debris barrier will allow City staff to periodically and safely remove log debris upstream of the dam before it impacts the spillway gates. 

Also, because both the Little River Reservoir and Lake Michie are open to the public for fishing and boating, this project includes:

  • Installation of warning buoys at Little River Reservoir and a warning barrier at Lake Michie. These will be located upstream of Little River’s new debris boom and keep boaters away from Lake Michie’s uncontrolled spillway.