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 Areas 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 Stakholder 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. Meetings continued over a six month period and information from these meetings is included in the resources below.
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 and more information on these meetings is included in the resources below.
Throughout this process, members of the public may ask to receive information and/or share public comments by filling out the form here. When a draft Groundwater Management Plan is available, a public meeting will be scheduled to discuss the plan and seek further input. The plan must be approved by the DHEC Board. A formal public hearing would be included in the board meeting to allow for further comments at that time.
Once an approved plan is adopted, it will not address any specific permits, yet it will guide the initial groundwater management strategy and provide direction for future groundwater management goals.