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About DHEC

Regulations Pursuant to Amendments to the S.C. Water Withdrawal and Reporting Act

The Surface Water Permitting, Withdrawal, and Reporting Act was approved by the SC General Assembly on June 3, 2010, and signed by the Governor on June 11, 2010. Regulations are needed to implement the Act.

With South Carolina’s population growth, and as the effects of recent droughts have shown, our water supplies are limited and need to be properly managed so that surface water can be used to the fullest extent possible. Also, as South Carolina explores water-sharing agreements with our neighboring states, a permitting program for surface water withdrawals is an important consideration in this process.

The Act became effective January 1, 2011, but regulations must be promulgated to issue surface water withdrawal permits. A workgroup consisting of representatives from industry, agriculture, public water suppliers, and environmental organizations was formed to help the department develop the required regulations.

Protection of our surface water resources is accomplished by establishing minimum instream flows. Minimum instream flows are the quantity of surface water not subject to permitting that is necessary to maintain the biological, chemical, and physical integrity of the stream. The safe yield of a water source is the amount of water available for withdrawal in excess of the minimum instream flow. The permitting process will also allow the Department to work with new public water suppliers or industries to locate where there are sufficient quantities of water to meet their specific needs.

These regulations will provide a reasonable approach to managing the surface water resources of the state for the beneficial use of all South Carolinians.