South Carolina State Water Plan Symposium Needs Horry County Representation

South Carolina State Water Plan Symposium Needs Horry County Representation

As any Horry County Democrat knows, life could not exist without clean drinkable water and clean waterways. One way to help the cause and to learn more is by attending the upcoming South Carolina State Water Plan Symposium – May 30-31, 2018.

Presented by South Carolina Rivers Forever, in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Health and Environmental Control, and Clemson University – the two-day symposium will share information and create further dialog in developing the new State Water Plan, and detail the steps that South Carolina can take to ensure a sustainable water future.

Horry County needs to be represented at the South Carolina State Water Plan Symposium. Our water uses and needs may be very different from those in the upstate and midlands. We are a quickly growing community that grows even more in the summers – and all of us need clean and safe water.

pee-dee-river-basin-map

Map of Pee Dee River Basin (click to view larger)

In 2018, South Carolina embarked on the final phase of creating a new State Water Plan – a comprehensive water resources policy for the state. The current water plan has not been updated since 2004.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) and the Water Resources Center at Clemson University are working closely with the Department of Natural Resources (SC DNR) as the new plan is under development.

Finalizing the State Water Plan for approval needs to have informed public engagement for it to truly meet the needs of each citizen. The goal is to educate and engage municipal and industrial water users, farmers, conservation organizations, policy makers, elected officials, and state residents about the importance in developing a new state water plan – and the opportunities it provides. The adoption and implementation of a State Water Plan needs to include the thoughtful reform of current water withdrawal and use policies.

Horry County’s location along the Grand Strand means that citizens get to enjoy a pristine uninterrupted 60-mile stretch of coastline renowned for sandy beaches, winding waterways, and natural marshes – all homes to an array of wildlife and integral ecosystems. Our lifestyles here depend on clean beaches and healthy marine and coastal areas. Our personal health depends on clean, drinkable water.

In our county, threats to our water and the surrounding environment include:

• The overuse of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals
• Animal manure and other farming waste causing polluted waterways and groundwater
• Pollution coming from asphalt and cement plants
• Illegal outdoor burning of trash and debris which releases toxic airborne particulates that settle into our waterways
• Our aging water and sewer systems in an area that is growing and burdened with the need for infrastructure
• Stormwater drainage and outfalls close to the beach and flowing into the ocean
• Large amounts of trash and litter along roadways in ditches, ponds, and streams

South Carolina State Water Plan Symposium

Save the date and Register for the South Carolina State Water Plan Symposium on May 30th and 31st, 2018. It will be held at The River Center at Saluda Shoals Park in Columbia, South Carolina.

South Carolina State Water Plan Symposium

So what else can we, as citizens of Horry County and of South Carolina, do to further ensure that we have sustainable water supplies for today and future generations? We can join in support of groups such as Waccamaw Riverkeeper, American Rivers, Coastal Conservation League, Winyah Rivers Foundation, South Carolina Rivers Forever, and the Conservation Voters of South Carolina to protect our state’s water resources from abuse, overuse, and poor management practices. We also need to vote for those with our best interests in mind – such as clean and safe water – to promote responsible and knowledgeable leadership for our county and our state.

Resources

The water resources policy plan consists of two parts. Phase 1 is an overall assessment of the water resources of the state, and Phase 2 outlines guidelines and procedures for managing the State’s water resources, and was first published in 1998 by the Department of Natural Resources as the South Carolina Water Plan.

SCDNR | South Carolina Water Plan

Explore DHEC’s Watershed Atlas to learn more about your river basin.

SC Watershed Atlas

Surface-water quantity models will be developed for each basin. Click here for a Report On South Carolina Surface-Water Quantity Models SCDHEC, SCDNR, and Clemson.

South Carolina Water Resource Assessments (.pdf)

Stormwater Management receives oversight from an appointed citizen advisory board. The Horry County Stormwater Advisory Board consists of appointed representatives from each of the 11 Council districts.

Horry County Stormwater Management Website

South Carolina last updated its State Water Plan fourteen years ago. Since that time the state has grown by more than 15% adding some 750,000 people, endured its most severe drought during 2008-2009, passed a water withdrawal law that for the first time created regulations for water withdrawals from rivers and other surface waters, and witnessed controversy regarding the amount of water being taken from river and groundwater sources.

How can South Carolina Plan for Healthy Rivers and a Sustainable Future? | American Rivers

Contribution by Jerri Gingrich

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