What is a Watershed?

A watershed, sometimes referred to as a drainage basin or river basin, is an area of land where all of the precipitation and water flows to a common source, such as a river, lake or ocean. We all live in a watershed! Often the watershed you live in is also where you get your drinking water, one of many reasons why it is important to keep our watersheds clean and healthy.

This 1-minute video from UNC-TV’s Ways of Watersheds curriculum provides a good introduction to the concept of watersheds.

Explore your Watershed

Are you curious about the watershed that you live in? You Can use NCEE’s map Find your Ecological Address or NC DEQ’s map Find your HUC (Hydrologic Unit Code) to find your river basin, watershed, and subwatershed. Simply type your address into the navigation bar and use the layers tool to control what information you want the map to display.

Curious about the water quality in your watershed? The EPA Just released How’s My Waterway 2.0. This tool can help the public determine swimming, fishing, and drinking water safety information. Local, state, and national governments can use this information to inform green infrastructure and restoration projects.

For more information about the river basins that CWEP works in, explore the NC River Basin Storymaps developed by the NC Office of Environmental Education:

Neuse River Basin Storymap

Cape Fear River Basin Storymap

Tar-Pamlico River Basin Storymap