B. Everett Jordan Dam and Lake Replaces a 40-year-old Emergency Flood Gate

Published Sept. 3, 2020
Updated: Sept. 3, 2020

In August 2020, B. Everett Jordan Dam and Lake replaced a 40-year-old emergency flood gate in order to protect land and communities adjacent and downstream from the lake.

The current flood gate that is being replaced, is the original gate from construction. Since the gates are a critical component to releasing water, they have a high priority need for replacement.

There are eight water quality, two emergency, and two hydraulically operated service gates which are housed in a concrete structure, the intake tower. The individual gate changes are made by project staff with direction from the Water Management section in the Wilmington District. The service and emergency gates are critical components for controlled releases though the dam.

During high water events the flood gates are operated to store water behind the dam. After the highest part of the flood has passed downstream communities, the gates are gradually raised to release water downstream and lower the lake level back to the normal water level. This allows for slower and safer release of water for communities along the river.

Purposes of the Dam

B. Everett Jordan Dam and Lake is a multiple purpose dam that has five project purposes which are mandated by congress. These include flood risk management, water supply, water quality, fish and wildlife conservation, outdoor recreation and hydropower.

Value to the Nation

Flood Risk Management is the primary purpose of B. Everett Jordan Dam and Lake. It protects an estimated 200,000 acres of floodplain downstream in Fayetteville and other communities along the Cape Fear River. Since the construction, the dam has prevented nearly $1.4 billion in flood damages.

Water Supply

B. Everett Jordan Lake provides drinking water for nearly 300,000 locals of Durham, Apex, Cary, Holly Springs, Orange, and Chatham Counties. Storage space for water supply within Jordan Lake totals 45,800 acre-feet of water. This supply, available for use by local communities, offers a peak yield of approximately 100 million gallons per day and is the largest single source of water supply in the Cape Fear River.

Water Quality

B. Everett Jordan Dam is equipped with a multi-level intake structure, that allows water to be withdrawn from different depths within the lake and sent downstream. Water is discharged through hydraulically controlled “gates” that allow well-oxygenated surface water to be released during the summer, and cool, dense water from the bottom of the lake to be released during the winter.

Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Seven waterfowl sub-impoundments were constructed to replace habitat and hunting opportunities that were lost when the reservoir flooded the Cape Fear River Basin. Other wildlife enhancement efforts at Jordan Lake include forests and open fields, managed in order to improve benefits to wildlife. Hunting is permitted on designated North Carolina Game Lands. Fishermen also find plenty of opportunities at Jordan Lake. Artificial structures that attract and concentrate fish are submerged near shore and marked with buoys. Fish stocking efforts are conducted to supplement naturally occurring populations.

Outdoor Recreation

The US Army Corps of Engineers and the State of North Carolina have partnered to provide many outdoor recreational opportunities at Jordan Lake. Some of which are swimming, boating, hiking, fishing, hunting, birdwatching, and picnicking. Educational exhibits, trails, and programs are at the US Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Assistance Center, the Jordan Lake State Recreation Area Visitor Center, and the Jordan Lake Educational State Forest. They offer a unique glimpse at the history and natural resources of the area.


Hydropower is a reliable, flexible, green energy source. Hydroelectric operations at Jordan Lake are owned and maintained by a private company, Jordan Hydroelectric, under a license granted by the Federal Electric Regulatory Commission (FERC). The facility has two vertical 2.2 megawatt turbines and generators that produce about 16,900 megawatt hours of green power per year, which generates enough electricity to power 1,700 homes.

This work is more important than ever considering this very busy hurricane season. Great job by the entire team ensuring the integrity and safety of B. Everett Jordan Dam and lake!