K.001.001. Southern Communities: Cane Creek Project

Cane Creek interviews explore the controversy in the late 1970s and early 1980s between residents of dairy farming community, Cane Creek, N.C., and the Orange County Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA). OWASA's proposal to construct a reservoir that would flood Cane Creek farms threatened a community already beset by economic pressures and government policies that had transformed the practice of farming in the region. Like their counterparts throughout the United States, Cane Creek farmers had been drawn since World War II into mechanized and centralized agricultural practices. Proximity to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and rapid population growth added pressure to the Cane Creek community and led to OWASA's search for new water sources. Residents of Cane Creek organized the Cane Creek Conservation Authority (CCC) to fight OWASA. The CCC lost its battle to stop the reservoir, and construction for the began in January 1987. The interviews in this series document all sides of the OWASA controversy and reveal the social and cultural dimensions of America's transforming rural life and the political, environmental, and public policy changes of urban growth. The majority of those interviewed were farmers and residents of Cane Creek, but the series includes interviews with OWASA personnel, an attorney, a local politician, a county commissioner, and university employees who lived in the Cane Creek community. Students enrolled in an oral history course in the fall semester of 1985 conducted most of the interviews, but graduate students continued the project through the spring of 1989.

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