Surface water withdrawals from the Edisto River are directly affecting our drinking water resources. This is causing one of the largest environmental crises South Carolina has seen. Dropping water levels are drying wells and limiting the recreational use of our rivers and lakes. Water disputes adversely affect the relationships between industry and nearby residents. Comprehensive water management that is both clear and effective is needed across the entire state.
Switching from surface water to ground water doesn’t solve the problem. Aquifers are recharged by ground water resources and it can take six months or longer for ground water to reach the aquifer. Our aquifer levels are dropping and showing little ability to recharge.
Proper protections for these water resources are paramount. The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has moved to place stricter controls on ground water withdrawals, but only in certain counties. Statewide, comprehensive protections for our water are needed before it is too late.