Hydrology - Water Resources Report 31

Water Resources Data for South Carolina

Shelly L, Harwell, A. Drennan Park, Brenda L. Hockensmith, and Constance E. Gawne


Ground-water levels observed in 2000 and 2001 reflect a drought that began in June 1998 and continued through 2002. Seasonal water-level fluctuations typically were superimposed upon a 2-year decline of 2 to 3 feet in most of South Carolina, and, at many observation wells, the lowest water levels for the period of record were observed during 2001.

The greatest declines were seen near outcrop areas and near areas of ground-water use. Declines exceeded 3 ft in 6 of 11 Middendorf aquifer-system wells, mainly near the system's outcrop area between Lexington and Dillon Counties. About 3 ft of decline occurred at Hilton Head Island after the area's first Middendorf production well went on line. Declines of 1.4 to 4 ft were measured in the Black Creek aquifer system wells, with the greatest changes observed in Allendale County. Water-level declines in the Tertiary-sand and Floridan aquifer systems averaged 2.7 ft, with 3- to 7-ft declines observed in Allendale and Berkeley Counties and with declines generally less than 2.5 ft in the lower Coastal Plain. Crystalline-rock aquifers in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge provinces showed 2- to 3-ft declines, except where influenced by surface-water levels.

Deep aquifers, where not subject to pumping interference, were little affected by drought. Crystalline-rock aquifer system well CTF-81, at Cheraw State Park, declined about 1 ft-roughly equal to its seasonal water-level range. Cape Fear system wells near Allendale and at Calabash, N.C., declined less than 0.5 ft. Levels observed in the lower part of the Middendorf declined about 1.5 ft at Jackson, in Aiken County, and less than 1 ft at Calabash, N.C.

Floridan aquifer well BFT-101, at Hilton Head Island, recovered 1 ft as withdrawals from the aquifer there were supplemented, in part, by water from the Savannah River, the Middendorf aquifer system, and effluent reuse. A recovery to near predrought levels, Statewide, is likely to require several years of normal rainfall.

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Paper or electronic versions of this report are available from the SCDNR's Columbia office.