In 2017, the North Carolina provided Guilford County with $3.6 million in state funds to study – and, potentially, plan and create – a water system that could have brought a new regional water infrastructure to Stokesdale, Oak Ridge and Summerfield.

However, Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing announced recently that that effort is officially over.

The county, in conjunction with the three towns, conducted a feasibility study and – based on Lawing’s comments at the Thursday, Sept. 25 meeting of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners – that water system is all washed up.

“As you know, we worked for over two years with the municipalities to determine the feasibility of developing a water system,” Lawing told the commissioners, reminding them that the collective of local governments had hired an engineering firm to conduct the study at a cost of $175,000.

“In the end, there was just not the … will, I guess, between the municipalities to develop the system – primarily because of the capital cost, and because of some of the policies that would need to be in place to operate a regional water system efficiently and effectively,” Lawing said.

The study had proposed various scenarios but since the project price tag of each was north of $50 million, the towns quickly lost their enthusiasm.

This year, the state adopted a bill that called for the remaining funds to be divided equally among the three towns.

Lawing said Guilford County is sending its remaining balance of over $800,000 to the state. The state will then add that to the leftover money to the funds the state is still holding, and then will distribute the funds equally to the towns.

Each of the three towns will receive just over $1.1 million to help meeting their water needs.