Drought Information

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June 6, 2017

The S.C. Drought Response Committee has downgraded the status of multiple counties around the state due to recent increased precipitation.  South Carolina has seen a good amount of rain since the committee met in April, and members discussed the state’s overall improved drought conditions during a conference call on June 6.

All counties in the state are now at either “normal” or “incipient” drought status.  In the Central region,  Upstate counties, including Spartanburg County, were downgraded from “moderate” to “incipient,” counties in the Midlands remain at “normal” status, and Georgetown County was downgraded from “incipient” to “normal,”.  All Counties in the Northeast and South regions are now in “normal” status.   In the West region, Abbeville and McCormick counties were downgraded from “moderate” to “incipient” while Aiken, Edgefield, and Barnwell counties remain in “incipient” status and the Southern Savannah counties remain in “normal.” The upper Savannah Basin counties of Oconee, Pickens, and Anderson, which were previously in “severe” drought status, have also been downgraded to “normal.”  These changes in drought status resulted from a lengthy discussion amongst committee members in which all available information was considered.

For the Upstate counties in the Central drought management area, local representatives pointed out that a number of indicators do lend support to a designation of “normal” status (no drought) at this time, but others show that the region may not have fully crossed over into that status. Periodic rains boost stream flows, and then they fall back to the low end of normal range or below.  April was a great rainfall month, May met the historical average, and data is only available through the first week of June.   For these reasons, the Committee decided to make the more conservative call of “incipient” drought, the lowest level of drought status, for the upstate counties.

For the upper Savannah Counties, there was a more dramatic change in conditions. “We’ve experienced a drastic turnaround in just two months’ time,” Naturalist and West Region Drought Committee Member Dennis Chastain stated. “Groundwater has significantly improved.  Streams are flowing well.  There are no water supply problems.  And agriculture at all levels seems to be in great shape. These changes justified the downgrading of Oconee, Pickens, and Anderson counties.”

Improved conditions in other parts of the state also served as evidence that downgraded drought statuses were warranted. According to SCDNR Hydrologist Scott Harder, “Streamflow conditions and groundwater conditions have greatly improved throughout the state over the past two months.  In addition, reservoirs across much of the state are near or above their target levels for this time of year, and though lakes in the Savannah Basin are still approximately five to six feet below their targets, water levels have risen substantially in these reservoirs over the past several months.”

The State Drought Committee will continue to monitor conditions and will meet during the summer as needed.

Spartanburg Water is dedicated to the protection and preservation of our local water supply. We monitor the same indicators that the State Drought Committee does, as well as local data that impacts our area, on a daily basis. While the State Committee declaration of “incipient” status is appropriate, it requires only that we watch conditions closely.  Spartanburg Water has an abundant supply of water to meet the needs of our community.  No special restrictions on usage are needed at this time.  Spartanburg Water will always ask that consumers use water wisely and apply smart water practices.

For more information, visit this site:

U.S. Drought Monitor