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South Carolina State Climatology Office
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South Carolina Drought News Release

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Land, Water and Conservation Division
South Carolina Drought Response Program
Department of Natural Resources News (803) 734-4133

SPECIAL NEWS RELEASE #99 - 58 September 23, 1999


In the face of continuing and increasingly severe drought conditions in the northwest region of the state, the Northwest Drought Response Committee (for the counties of Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg and Union) met Tuesday, Sept. 21 at Table Rock State Park to address the drought situation. 

"Rainfall received from passing showers has not been sufficient to alleviate the severe conditions," said Dennis Chastain, Northwest Drought Committee member.  "A drought of this magnitude doesn't occur in a single season or even a single year.  This is a result of almost two years of rain deficit so it is not going to be solved by one front coming our way and dropping even several inches of rain." 

"Several months of above-normal to normal rainfall is the only solution to the serious water shortage problems," said Hope Mizzell, S.C. Drought Program coordinator with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  Tom Garrison, chairman of the Anderson Soil and Water Conservation District and local farmer, said "This is worst agricultural drought coupled with low commodities I have experienced." 

The Northwest Drought Committee is especially concerned about those persons depending on shallow wells as their only source of water supply.  Some private well owners are already reporting problems of wells going dry.   Shallow-well users should begin considering additional sources of water or lowering their pumps. 

The regional committee requests that all water suppliers in the counties of Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg and Union implement their drought ordinances and plans and report their actions to the Drought Information Center in Columbia at (803)737-0800. The committee decided not to request area-wide mandatory water restrictions.  However, the committee strongly recommends that those water suppliers experiencing problems should implement mandatory conservation. The committee will provide full support for these decisions. The public is encouraged to conduct voluntary water conservation as a contingency until water levels are restored.

The Northwest Regional Drought Committee will convene 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, at Table Rock State Park to assess reports from individual water suppliers and dischargers reporting problems.  The DNR will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed. The public should contact the Drought Information Center at (803)737-0800 for more information or if other problems arise.

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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