South Carolina Water Plan

Rodney N. Cherry and A. W. Badr


The sources of water for South Carolina are precipitation (48 inches average per year) and streamflow from adjacent states (8 inches average per year). In addition to the annual replenishment, water is stored mostly in sand and limestone aquifers of the Coastal Plain.

The Water Plan suggests the utilization of water from streams and lakes, where feasible, in preference to using water from aquifers, because of the slow recharge to the aquifers and the high evapotranspiration losses and shorter retention times in streams and lakes.

Minimum flows for streams should be established to protect fish and wildlife, preserve water quality, and maintain navigability. Minimum water levels for aquifers should be established to sustain water availability, control land-surface subsidence, and maintain wetlands ecosystems.

All water withdrawals of 100,000 gallons or more in any day, 1 million gallons in any month, or 10 million gallons in any year should be registered.

Mitigation techniques such as but not limited to restricting withdrawal, diverting water from other areas, withdrawing water from a stream rather than an aquifer or vice versa, or taking water from storage facilities such as lakes or reservoirs should be considered if a stream’s flow is less than the minimum flow or the static water level is below the Trigger Level in an aquifer or undesired effects are occurring because of water withdrawals.

A water shortage should be declared and administered by the State Drought Response Committee when insufficient water is available to meet all withdrawals and maintain the required minimum flow in streams or water level in aquifers.

Copies of this report are available in the SCDNR's Columbia office.