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South Carolina State Climatology Office
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South Carolina Current Drought Status

State Climate Office      (803) 734-9100
NEWS RELEASE #06
Statement Date:September 20, 2006:

MODERATE DROUGHT DECLARED FOR SAVANNAH RIVER BASIN

South Carolina Drought Status by County.
Table of all counties and drought status.

State and local Drought Response Committee members declared a “moderate” drought for the Savannah River Basin during a meeting Wednesday, September 20, 2006, in Columbia based on the hydrologic conditions in the basin

The state agency representatives of the drought response committee declared an incipient drought on August 16, 2006. Recent rains have not improved the hydrologic conditions with lake levels continuing to decline. The U.S Army Corps of Engineers upgraded the drought status for the Savannah River Basin to the second stage of drought on August 28, 2006.

Moderate drought means there is an increasing threat of a drought as demonstrated by drought indices. The primary indices driving this declaration were the sustained decline in reservoir levels and decline in ground water resources.

“The decision to upgrade the drought status to moderate was supported by the long-term rainfall deficit in the Upstate,” said Freddy Vang, DNR deputy director of the Land, Water and Conservation Division. “What we need to see is a significant change in rainfall over the next 60 days and beyond, otherwise, the streams and lake levels along the Savannah will continue to decline.”

According to Hope Mizzell, South Carolina state climatologist, the U.S Army Corps drought designations and what Duke Energy is observing in the basin were the primary factors influencing the State and Local Drought Response Committee’s decision to upgrade. On the Savannah, Lake Hartwell and Lake Thurmond have reached drought trigger level two, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Drought Plan. Mr. Vang adds, “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Duke Energy have been working together to manage and conserve water levels in the basin. This is not an easy task given the long-term rainfall deficit. The SC Drought Response Committee’s decision to upgrade to the second level of drought demonstrates that consistency between local, state, and federal drought response is important for effective drought planning and management.

Bud Badr, State Hydrologist, explains, “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers drought level two recommends a water release of 4,500 cfs downstream from Lake Thurmond; however, because of the persistent drought conditions in the basin the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has only been releasing 3,600 cfs for the last 10 days.  3,600 cfs is the lowest that can be released without negative impacts for downstream users. By reducing releases now they are extending the availability of water in the reservoirs. 

Fortunately, according to David Baize with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, no water systems are reporting any supply problems at this time.  Hope Mizzell explained that the moderate declaration does not require any mandatory action by public water systems or the public, but all water systems in the Savannah should take the opportunity to review their local drought plans and ordinances and where needed implement accordingly. 

The next committee meeting is scheduled for November 2, 2006.


Drought Status Table

Current Drought Status by County
Normal Incipient Moderate Severe Extreme
County
Status
County
Status
County
Status
County
Status
County
Status
ABBEVILLE
Moderate
AIKEN
Moderate
ALLENDALE
Moderate
ANDERSON
Moderate
BAMBERG
Normal
BARNWELL
Moderate
BEAUFORT
Normal
BERKELEY
Normal
CALHOUN
Normal
CHARLESTON
Normal
CHEROKEE
Normal
CHESTER
Incipient
CHESTERFIELD
Normal
CLARENDON
Normal
COLLETON
Normal
DARLINGTON
Normal
DILLON
Normal
DORCHESTER
Normal
EDGEFIELD
Moderate
FAIRFIELD
Normal
FLORENCE
Normal
GEORGETOWN
Normal
GREENVILLE
Normal
GREENWOOD
Normal
HAMPTON
Moderate
HORRY
Normal
JASPER
Moderate
KERSHAW
Incipient
LANCASTER
Incipient
LAURENS
Normal
LEE
Normal
LEXINGTON
Normal
MARION
Normal
MARLBORO
Normal
MCCORMICK
Moderate
NEWBERRY
Normal
OCONEE
Moderate
ORANGEBURG
Normal
PICKENS
Moderate
RICHLAND
Normal
SALUDA
Normal
SPARTANBURG
Normal
SUMTER
Normal
UNION
Normal
WILLIAMSBURG
Normal
YORK
Incipient


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Find out more about the State Climatology Office at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/climate/sco/ or by calling (803) 734-9100.

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