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August 11, 2017
Agricultural officials brought encouraging news to the South Carolina Drought Response Committee with several crops reporting the potential for the highest yields in many years.
After reviewing the agricultural and forest fire conditions, and the levels in the rivers, lakes and groundwater, the South Carolina Drought Response Committee, meeting on Aug. 11, 2017, removed the drought declaration for Aiken, Cherokee, Greenville, Spartanburg and York counties. However, spotty summer rainfall has not been enough to eliminate the drought statewide.
Abbeville, Barnwell, Chester, Edgefield, Fairfield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry, Saluda and Union counties remain in incipient drought status, and two counties, Anderson and Oconee, were upgraded to incipient drought, which is the first of four drought stages.
Hydrologic conditions have improved in the upper Saluda, Broad and Catawba basins, and this supported the removal of the incipient status for counties in those areas, according to Scott Harder, SCDNR Hydrologist, however, below-normal groundwater levels and streamflow levels in portions of the middle Savannah Basin and in the central regions of the Saluda, Broad and Catawba basins supported keeping counties in these regions in an incipient status.
"We have some drought conditions in the Western Piedmont areas of the state, but overall, the majority of the state is in great shape as far as rainfall," said Brad Boozer, Director of State Farmers Markets, S.C. Department of Agriculture. "Corn, soybeans and peanuts may produce some of the highest yields that we have seen in the last 10-15 years if the weather holds out. The cotton crop looks great also."
Jimmy Bagley, Deputy City Manager for the City of Rock Hill said, "I am excited to hear farmers and agencies report that several of our communities are receiving rains at or above normal levels. Greenville, Spartanburg, Cherokee and York (counties) all appear to be out of drought status at this time."
"While the more mountainous sections of Oconee County have received rainfall, the storm track seems to bypass the southern portions of the county," said Doug Young, President of the Lake Hartwell Association. "The soil moisture in southern Oconee is quite low, below 2 or 3 inches from the surface."
The State Drought Committee will continue to monitor conditions and will meet 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. The committee’s decision to remove the drought declaration for Spartanburg County is fully consistent with our observations, and Spartanburg Water has an abundant supply of water to meet the needs of our community at this time. We advocate that consumers always use water wisely and apply smart water practices, but no special restrictions are needed at this time. Spartanburg Water will always ask that consumers use water wisely and apply smart water practices.
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