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 #02 July 24, 2002
DROUGHT UPGRADED TO EXTREME FOR 39 SOUTH CAROLINA COUNTIES
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has upgraded South Carolina's
drought status from severe to extreme for 39 counties. Members of the state
and four regional S.C. Drought Response Committees met and voted today
(Wednesday, July 24) in Columbia
The entire state had been under a "severe" drought declaration since June
19. The counties which remain under a third level or "severe" drought
status are Bamberg, Berkeley, Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester and
"Each affected region will now seek to reduce the consumptive use of
surface water," Governor Jim Hodges said following the meeting. "To reach
that goal, each community will follow its own drought plans, based on their
local conditions. I'm asking folks who live in the areas of extreme
drought to use a little less water."
The drought committee recommended no statewide or regional mandatory water
restrictions. However, local officials may call for mandatory or voluntary
restrictions as part of their local response.
Alfred Vang, DNR Deputy Director of the Land, Water and Conservation
Division, said, "I can't overemphasize one point and that is that 100 days
from now we need to make sure that the public's water supply is protected,
and the only way that I can see to protect that water supply in the near
term is to conserve water - not just our conservation but what's behind the
dams upstream in North Carolina."
The Western Drought Management Committee, which includes 12 counties
(Abbeville, Aiken, Allendale, Anderson, Barnwell, Beaufort, Edgefield,
Hampton, Jasper, McCormick, Oconee and Pickens) in the Savannah River
drainage, voted to upgrade the area's drought status from severe to extreme
for all its counties except Beaufort, which has been helped by recent rains.
They asked all users area-wide to voluntarily conserve water. The committee
felt that their situation was not quite as dire as some other parts of the
state, but they need to help water users downstream and set the right
example in water conservation. The western region includes the headwaters
of the Savannah River system.
The Northeastern Drought Management Committee, which includes 10 counties
(Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Horry, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lee,
Marion and Marlboro) in the Pee Dee River drainage, voted unanimously to
upgrade the entire region from severe to extreme. They asked all water
users to voluntarily reduce their consumptive surface water use by 20
percent. They also asked for a regional water supply study.
The Central Drought Management Committee, which includes 18 counties
(Calhoun, Cherokee, Chester, Clarendon, Fairfield, Georgetown, Greenville,
Greenwood, Laurens, Lexington, Newberry, Richland, Saluda, Sumter,
Spartanburg, Union, Williamsburg and York) in the Santee River drainage,
voted to escalate the region's drought status from severe to extreme. They
requested that conservation measures be implemented for all water users
along the system, recommending a 10 to 15 percent reduction in consumptive
The Southern Drought Management Committee, which covers six counties
(Bamberg, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester and Orangeburg) in the
Ashepoo-Combahee-Ashepoo (ACE) Basin remained at the severe drought level.
The full committee asked that all rural fire departments monitor water
levels at their dry hydrants.
The full committee also requested that the state examine ways to procure
adequate supplies of feed hay and grain to avert a crisis in the South
Carolina cattle industry this coming fall and winter.
Written by Mike Creel
News Section Chief
SC Department of Natural Resources
1000 Assembly St., P.O. Box 167
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
Phone: 803-734-3950 Fax: 803-734-3951
Find out more about the State Climatology Office at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/climate/sco/ or by calling (803) 734-9100.