Our mission is to coordinate resources to monitor, preserve, protect, and improve water quality in the Mills River through voluntary participation of stakeholders.

What is the Mills River Partnership?
The Mills River Partnership (MRP) is a not-for-profit organization that addresses water quality in the Mills River watershed.

Formed in 1998, MRP focuses on educating the local community about water quality issues and helping farmers and other landowners implement best management practices to control sediment pollution.

Since inception, MRP has maintained a diverse board of directors, with members from the agricultural community, local governments, and conservation organizations.

What's the importance of Mills River?

Mills River is the primary drinking water source for Hendersonville and Henderson County and a secondary source for Asheville and South Buncombe County.  Mills River water is used by farmers for irrigation and by trout fishermen and other water sports enthusiasts.  The river is also an important scenic amenity for both local residents and tourists.
How does Mills River water reach your faucet?
At some time during the day, every student in Henderson County schools enjoys a cool, refreshing drink of Mills River water.

Let’s consider how the water gets to the schools.

  • Some of the water may have originated as rain or snow on the Blue Ridge Parkway, 20 miles west of the treatment plant in Mills River.  

  • Some of it came from woodlands, springs, roadways, trails and campsites in Pisgah National Forest.

  • Some of it came from Siniard, Foster, Queen, and unnamed branches in the Mills River community.  

  • Some water flows from summer camp and trout ponds, driveways, rooftops, yards, gardens, bridges, cow pastures, and corn and vegetable fields throughout the watershed.

Who is responsible for keeping Mills River water clean?
Mills River binds together the lives of watershed residents and water consumers as closely as strands of DNA.  Each resident or person with business interest in the watershed has a share of responsibility for water stewardship. Heavy rainstorm events present ideal times for observing water runoff from one’s home grounds or farm.  The quantity and speed of water runoff is related directly to the quantity of sediment arriving at the treatment plants.
Water consumers have an obligation to know where their water originates and to develop a sense of partnership with citizens in the watershed. When farmers and other landowners are asked to make costly changes in production practices to achieve improved water quality, water consumers may be reasonably asked to help share the cost.

Learn more about our 10-year plan to improve water quality.

Mills River Watershed Management Plan