bowenforhouse@yahoo.com
1176 Embassy Drive
Anderson, SC 29625
Cell Phone: 864-934-3272
How many times a day do you turn on a spigot, flush a toilet, or stop at a
water fountain? Probably more than you think and the truth is that we
simply take the resource of clean water for granted. Water is one of the
major issues in my district. I know this because I receive mail, phone calls
and even get stopped in line at the grocery store to listen to your
concerns.  From my vantage point, it is time for scientific management,
local input, and joint state and regional control of this God-given resource!

Until now we have relied on DHEC and DNR to plan, manage and solve
our water problems. Th
at situation demands that more attention be paid
to regional needs. My recent analysis of state water concerns have found
that these agencies have gotten too big and too diverse. Water is only
one of the many responsibilities these departments manage - and they
are not necessarily aligned on priorities or concerns. Their issues and
efforts are simply too varied and numerous to effectively deal with water in
a cooperative, scientific and timely manner. In fact, many of the
recommendations currently identified in their own planning documents
have not been analyzed for resolution.

DHEC and DNR also manage each of South Carolina’s four water basins
in a generic process as though they are all identical.  This is simply not
effective due to the great number of differences in each basin. Water
level limits are a good example. And water amounts are not necessarily
the issue. In a “normal year“, even accounting for losses due to
evaporation, South Carolina gets plenty of rainfall. It only takes a positive
seven inches of water to meet all of our current needs in the state. More
individual attention is needed. In fact, our current DHEC/DNR managers
have already allowed 97% of the Savannah River basin’s assimilative
capacity (the amount of pollutants EPA will allow in a volume of water and
still be safe for human consumption) to be allocated to Georgia. This
severely limits South Carolina’s ability for growth since assimilative
capacity increases are a normal part of industrial growth. It is time for a
change!

I believe we must create a single South Carolina organization specifically
for water planning and management which will include enhanced,
statewide, scientific data gathering methods and local, independent
planning input for each water basin.

Our forefathers gave us the ability to change our government based on
the times and needs. Both the time and the need dictate that this change
be initiated immediately. I pre-filed a
House Bill H3132 on December the
16th to form the flexible framework for this much needed independent
water agency and to develop a modern, integrated, comprehensive water
plan for the South Carolina. The plan would be developed through the
input of a large number of water experts and representatives from various
water related organizations, academic institutions, and other stakeholder
groups within the state as well as each water basin.

Approval of this bill would permit resolution and balance of some highly
important issues including:  agricultural requirements, water allocation
decisions, water level agreements, minimum flow standards, balance of
economic needs across the state, future status of hydropower, salt water
intrusion, pollutants, coordination with federal entities, and the needs of
plants and animals in our basins.  Funding can initially be transferred
from current state water management agencies.

All our neighboring states have formed separate water management
departments with independent basin management councils! All have or
are developing new comprehensive water plans while South Carolina
slides further behind in our water planning efforts. Bottom line is that if we
do not have a planning and management process comparable to our
neighboring states, we may lose our water to them through inter-basin
transfers. My bill would offer protection for both interstate and intrastate
water issues.

H3132 may not be a panacea for all of our water issues, but it is an
excellent point to start and build what is necessary for now and is flexible
enough to carry us into the future responsibly. You can find it in its
entirety at bowenforhouse.com.

We must ensure water quantity and quality for all our future needs is not
in jeopardy. We can, with a separate water department! It is no longer
acceptable for major water issues to be handled in a “piecemeal fashion“.
The need is here, the time is now, and we must act responsibly.

Rep. Don C. Bowen
House District 8
Anderson, SC
Updated 01-05-2009
Water Department Needed for SC