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July 21, 2008

Governor, DNR urge voluntary water conservation

As extreme drought conditions intensify across the Upstate, Gov. Mark Sanford is encouraging citizens in the Upstate to conserve water, "As this drought continues, we believe it's very important for South Carolinians in the Upstate to take individual initiative to conserve water. We think these conservation recommendations from DNR are a good step toward that end, and would urge citizens to do what they can at home and at work to impact their water use -- because doing what we can to conserve now could help avoid restrictions later on."

State and local representatives from the South Carolina Drought Response Committee upgraded the drought level to extreme for five Upstate counties, Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, and Spartanburg, on June 30.  Conditions in the Upstate continue to deteriorate even while some locations from the Midlands to the coast have received beneficial rain over the past few weeks. Hope Mizzell, S.C. State Climatologist, reports that the last 30-day rainfall totals through July 20 vary extensively across the State with Effingham reporting 10.37 inches (209% of normal), Cheraw 11.13 inches (222% of normal), Edisto Beach 9.69 inches (199% of normal), while Clemson has received only 1.20 inches (30% of normal), Greer 2.36 inches (55% of normal), and Greenwood 0.78 inches (21% of normal).

Find out more about the State Climatology Office by calling (803) 734-9100.  Contact State Climatologist Hope Mizzell at (803) 734-9568 in Columbia for more information about the ongoing drought.

Drought conditions have continued to deteriorate in the Upstate with significant impacts to agriculture, forestry resources, groundwater, streams, and lakes. According to Dr. Masaaki Kiuchi, S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Hydrologist, "Streamflows have been extremely low for this time of the year. Some rock wells have gone dry while water levels in other wells have been declining. The Savannah lake system from Lake Jocassee to Lake Thurmond has been impacted greatly by the drought. Lake Hartwell and Lake Thurmond levels are over 10 feet below target levels. Without significant precipitation, lake levels will continue to decline throughout the state this summer."

Mizzell stresses that the drought conditions that have dominated the State’s climate over the past decade have made all South Carolinians aware that we can no longer take our water resources for granted.  Whether you are currently in the extreme drought area or not we can all do our part to be better stewards of our limited water resources. 

DNR offers these tips for water conservation in and around your home.



DNR protects and manages South Carolina's natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state's natural resources and its people.

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