The Western Capacity Use Area
On November 8, 2018, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Board, as established in Section 49-5-60, approved the designation of all of Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Lexington and Orangeburg Counties as the Western Capacity Use Area.
The Groundwater Use and Reporting Program issues Groundwater Use Withdrawal Permits to all groundwater systems located in a designated Capacity Use Area. Groundwater withdrawal permits are required to withdraw and use groundwater equal to or greater than three million gallons in any month in the counties in these areas.
The Groundwater Management Plan
The Groundwater Use and Reporting Act requires that a Groundwater Management Plan be developed for each designated Capacity Use Area to achieve the goals and objectives of conserving and protecting the resources, preventing waste, and providing and maintaining conditions which are conducive to the development and use of water resources.
DHEC convened the first in a series of Groundwater Management Plan Stakeholder Workgroup meetings on March 21, 2019. The Stakeholder Workgroup is comprised of 20 members across the seven county area and state, and they represent various groundwater users from water supply, industry, agri-business, and golf courses to academia, government agencies, professional associations, and non-profit organizations. The workgroup is charged with providing input in developing a Groundwater Management Plan for the Western Capacity Use Area. Information, minutes, and presentations from those meetings are included at the bottom of this page under the "Additional Resources" section, and a summary of feedback on the process and development of the Western Capacity Use Area Groundwater Management Plan from the Stakeholder Workgroup can be found here:
On August 14, 2019, the Bureau of Water hosted an Open House in Blackville, SC presenting the draft Groundwater Management Plan to the public with an opportunity for comments and questions. The draft was written collaboratively with the Stakeholder Workgroup over the course of several months. Information about the Open House and a draft of the plan are included at the bottom of this page under the "Additional Resources" section.
On November 7, 2019 the SC DHEC Board unanimously approved the Groundwater Management Plan for the Western Capacity Use Area. With a Groundwater Management Plan now in place in the Western Capacity Use Area, the Department will begin issuing withdrawal permits for groundwater users in the 7-county area.