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Article Type

Full Research Article

Volume

6

Issue

1

Abstract

Economic development, environmental protection, and public health are critical quality-of-life issues that depend on a reliable supply of water. Increased water demand and climate variability (drought) are two major factors that have the potential to limit future water availability in the state of South Carolina. The development of a comprehensive water-resources management plan for the state is vital for ensuring that an adequate and reliable supply of water will be available to sustain all future uses. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) is tasked legislatively with developing water planning and policy initiatives in the state and has initiated a long-term process to update the state water plan, last published in 2004. One of the major recommendations in the 2004 plan was to form River Basin Councils (RBCs) in each of the major river basins in the state for the purpose of water planning. In 2014, SCDNR initiated a multiyear process to develop regional water plans that will serve as the foundation for a new state water plan. A central component of the process was the creation of a Planning Process Advisory Committee (PPAC) for the purpose of developing formal guidelines on the formation of RBCs and the development of river basin plans for the eight designated river basins in the state. The PPAC is composed of a diverse group of stakeholders and includes representation from water utilities, energy utilities, trade organizations, academia, conservation groups, agriculture, and the general public. The work of the PPAC culminated in a report, the South Carolina State Water Planning Framework, which was published in October of 2019. The river basin plans will identify current and future water availability issues and describe a management plan to address these issues to ensure that an adequate and reliable supply of water will be available for future generations. The purpose of this paper is to provide a general overview of the state’s river basin planning process.

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