Jan 19, 2018

New Industrial Groundwater Consumption Limits May be Applied in South Carolina

State regulators met in Lexington, S.C., to discuss agricultural operations

South Carolina may impose new groundwater limits for agriculture industry

In a public forum held by state regulators on Jan. 16, 2018 in Lexington, S.C., the alteration of groundwater consumption by agriculture industry businesses was discussed, potentially meaning a tighter leash for businesses consuming substantial amounts of groundwater.

Specifically, the state may implement a permit system, requiring a permit from businesses who wish to withdraw a significant amount of groundwater.

Whether or not the system will be put in place remains to be seen, but it would affect seven county areas, including Lexington, Aiken and Orangeburg counties. These areas have seen significant reduction in groundwater over the past several years, which can likely be attributed to massive withdrawals from mega farms and public water systems.

According to a report from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), regulation of groundwater consumption is vital to implement now in order to prevent future problems.

“As the development of the groundwater resource continues, further water level declines will be expected and the potential for adverse impacts to current and future groundwater users will become more frequent and serious over time,” DHEC’s report said.

The process for these new regulations will not be without backlash from the affected farm companies, who claim they are responsible users of water.