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The South Carolina Drought Response Committee, which is comprised of representatives from multiple state and local agencies, met via conference call on Thursday, February 2, to update the drought statuses for all counties within the state.
The status of fifteen counties was downgraded: Lexington, Richland, Allendale, Bamberg, Orangeburg, Hampton, Colleton, Dorchester, Berkeley, Jasper, Beaufort and Charleston were downgraded to “normal” or no-drought status.
Edgefield, Aiken and Barnwell were downgraded from “moderate” to “incipient” status.
All other counties, including Spartanburg, remain unchanged.
“We voted to downgrade the drought for many counties due to increased rainfall over the last 30 to 60 days,” Colleton County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner Emeritus Marion Rizer said. “Ironically, we are not able to get into the fields to fertilize small grains and to make preparations for spring planting because soil moisture conditions are too wet in some areas.”
Though hydrologic conditions have slightly improved in much of the Upstate over the past two months, streamflow levels remain well below normal in many areas. SCDNR Hydrologist Scott Harder reported, “These below-normal levels offered support for keeping counties in the Piedmont in their current moderate or severe drought designation.”
Due to potential fire hazards and lack of moisture, Oconee, Pickens and Anderson counties have remained in severe drought status. According to S.C. Forestry Commission Forest Protection Chief Darryl Jones, the wildfire activity in November was 94 percent higher than the five-year average. The Pinnacle Mountain Fire burned 10,623 acres in Pickens and Greenville counties before it was controlled, and fire costs exceeded $5 million. Recovery work, including firebreaks rehabilitation and clearing of trails, is ongoing.
The committee plans to meet again within the next eight weeks unless weather conditions require members to gather sooner.
Spartanburg Water is dedicated to the protection and preservation of our local water supply. We monitor the same indicators that the State Committee does, as well as local data that impacts our area, on a daily basis. After several months of low precipitation, we experienced higher than average rainfall in our watershed during January and captured the maximum amount of this water. As of February 3, 2017, our storage reservoirs are full and overflowing. Our water supply is quite sufficient to meet the community’s needs. Staff continues to monitor, evaluate, and appropriately manage the lake levels to ensure sufficient water enters our drinking water treatment system. Customers may hear of concerns in other local areas via the local news, but, thus far, the supply in the Spartanburg Water area remains at levels that do not require any special conservation request. Spartanburg Water will always ask that consumers use water wisely and apply smart water practices.
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