SCDNR leads work to protect the state’s water resources over the next 50 years

Updated: Nov. 22, 2019 at 4:05 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - State leaders are working on a plan that will ensure South Carolina’s water supply is sustainable for the next 50 years.

SCDNR is now accepting applications from stakeholders to be on the Edisto River Basin Council.

This group will be tasked with crafting recommendations for an overall plan to protect the state’s water resources.

The Edisto RBC will be composed of up to 25 members appointed by SCDNR and selected from the following eight water-interest categories:

  • Agriculture, Forestry and Irrigation Interests
  • Local Governments
  • Water and Sewer Utilities
  • Electric-Power Utilities and Non-Federal Reservoir Operators
  • Industry and Economic Development Interests
  • Water-Based Recreation Interests
  • Environmental Interests
  • At-Large Water-Based Interests

Officials say the Edisto River Basin is vital to the economy, environment, and people who rely on it.

It stretches 250 miles and touches parts of Colleton, Dorchester, Charleston and Beaufort counties.

SCDNR is concerned about what a severe drought could do to all of the people, industries and wildlife that need the state’s water resources to survive.

Concerns have grown over the years about how the agricultural industry has impacted the Edisto River Basin, in particular.

Some farms have been accused of siphoning millions of gallons of this resource onto their large crops during dry, hot months impacting water levels.

“You don’t want to be in a water crisis and then try to come up with a plan. We want to try to get ahead of the curve, and we think that’s the best way to address it,” said Ken Rentiers, SCDNR’s Deputy Director for Land, Water and Conservation. “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst”

The overall plan could be used by the governor to ration water usage in the case of a severe drought.

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