Coffee County Water System

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The second phase Coffee County water project was recently completed.

For nearly a decade the water authority worked on signing up residents living in rural areas from Kinston to Zion chapel.

Beginning in the late 1990's, millions of dollars flowed from Capitol Hill down to Coffee County. The objective was to provide a safe, reliable water supply to rural residents who relied on water pumps.

In two separate phases, more than 1,500 folks now can hook into the system.

"It’s just a pleasure to see it working knowing that folks have access to good water for the rest of their lives in coffee county," said Charles Lott, Director of the Coffee Co. Water Authority.

One county commissioner says getting the system fully online fulfilled her campaign promise.

"Done audits on water authorities and water systems knowing there was money available and that it was my desire to see rural water for Coffee County," said Linda Westbrook, Coffee County Commissioner.

Foy Smith lives in the shadow of a Coffee County water authority tower, but he'll stick with his well water.

"I rather have my well water. Good, clean water. I’d rather not have that well. That water down there, I like my water better," said Smith.

For both former and current members of the Coffee County Water Authority, it sometimes was a tough sell to get people to hook into the system.

"Most of the time they would want it, but then we got it out there and then they don't use it," said Austin Mixon, a former member of the Coffee County Water Authority.

During hurricanes and other emergencies when the power can be out for a week or more, officials say having a centralized water system means rural residents previously on electric wells will maintain water.

Geneva County went online with its centralized water system as well last year. Much of the funding for these systems comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.