The Falls Lake Project was begun in 1978 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Construction was completed in 1981. The lake was was created to provide flood control, drinking water supply, protection of downstream water quality, fish and wildlife conservation, and recreation.
Following questions in 2004 over the condition of Falls Lake, DWQ began more intensive sampling for use support assessment. A Falls Lake Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was formed in July 2005 to assist DWQ with the review and modification of the monitoring strategy and developing levels of confidence for decision making associated with the monitoring and lake modeling activities. The field study was completed in fall 2007. Based on water quality data collected between 2002 and 2006, Falls Lake was listed as impaired for chlorophyll a on the draft NC 2008 303(d) list. The portion of the lake above I-85 was also listed as impaired for turbidity.