Home Framework Local stakeholders sought to guide water planning in South Carolina’s Saluda River Basin

Local stakeholders sought to guide water planning in South Carolina’s Saluda River Basin


September 26, 2022

The Middle Saluda River flows quietly under a bridge in Jones Gap State Park in northern Greenville County. Two public meetings are being held – one in Columbia and one in Greenville – to discuss surface water management in the Saluda River Basin over the next 50 years. (Photo: SCDNR/Greg Lucas)

The SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) has announced the dates for two public meetings to provide citizens with an overview of a new water planning framework that will guide surface water management in the river basin. Saluda over the next 50 years.

The meetings will also serve as venues to engage volunteers interested in serving on a board that will develop and implement the plan for the Saluda River Basin. Meetings are planned in Colombia at Saluda Shoals Park on Tuesday, November 1 and in Greenville at the Roper Mountain Science Center on Thursday, November 3. Both meetings will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

In March 2018, the SCDNR established the State Water Planning Process Advisory Committee to help draft a “framework” document that will guide the development of individual river basin plans for each of the eight major basins. state rivers. The Planning Process Advisory Committee includes representatives from a wide range of organizations, including SC’s Department of Health and Environmental Control, SC’s Water Resources Center at Clemson University, Systems municipal and rural water utilities, conservation groups, power companies and agricultural interests. In 2019, the group completed a report, the “South Carolina State Water Planning Framework”, which outlines the river basin planning process and the intended content of a river basin plan.

“The planning framework represents a foundation for the development of regional and state water bodies, which are essential to our continued economic growth and the protection of the resources and environment we all share,” said Ken Rentiers, Deputy Director of the Land, Water and and Conservation Division.

Each river basin plan will be created and overseen by a river basin council, a working group made up of stakeholders with interests in the basin. River Basin Councils in the Edisto, Broad and Pee Dee river basins have already been established and planning activities in these basins are underway. The Saluda River Basin has been selected as the next basin to implement the new planning framework. Planning efforts and advice in the other four basins will follow as funding becomes available.

At its most fundamental level, a watershed plan will answer four fundamental questions:

  1. What is the water supply and demand currently available in the basin?
  2. What water uses are currently permitted and registered in the basin?
  3. What will be the demand for water in the basin throughout the planning horizon (50 year planning period) and will the available water supply be sufficient to meet this demand?
  4. What water management strategies will be used in the basin to ensure that available supply meets or exceeds projected future demand?

As stated in the planning framework, “The answer to the fourth question is central to the water planning process and benefits greatly from cooperation and consensus among all stakeholders in the basin. A successful and equitable watershed plan considers the effects that all water users have on each other and on the resource.

Public participation is essential to ensure that future generations of South Carolina have a safe and well-managed supply of our most essential natural resource: water. You can download a copy of the “South Carolina State Water Planning Framework” and learn more about the Planning Process Advisory Committee and the research behind this initiative.

Meeting locations and times:

Colombia—Nov. 1, 2022, 6-8pm

Saluda Shoals Park – Center of the River

5605 Bush River Road

Columbia, South Carolina 29212

Directions via Google Maps

Greenville—Nov. 3, 2022, 6pm-8pm

Roper Mountain Science Center

Environmental Science and Sustainability Building, Room 201

Greenville, SC 29615

Directions via Google Maps