South Carolina State Drought Programs

Program Title: South Carolina Drought Response Act of 1985

Function: Communication, Monitoring and Prediction, Mitigation, Response

Program Assistance or Functional Assistance: Established procedures for monitoring, managing, and conserving SC's water resources; routinely monitor and record climatic and other data necessary for determining drought conditions. Dept. of Natural Resources chairs Drought Response Committee and, upon consultation with the committee, determines levels of drought based upon data collected, establishes drought-alert phases based upon drought levels and provides notice of each phase; coordinates and implements responses to announced drought-alert phases; promotes water conservation; offers services to mediate any dispute arising from competing demands for water. Committee members are from the 5 agencies listed in that column, plus representatives from counties, municipalities, public service districts, private water suppliers, agriculture, industry, domestic users, regional councils of government, commissions of public works; and invited participants: Office of the Governor, Department of Transportation, Energy Office, USDA-FSA, Farm Bureau, USGS, Clemson University, National Weather Service, AgFirst.

Statute or Authority: Section 49-23-10 et seq. Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976 and Regulations, 121-1198 (3)

Agencies (primary agency listed first): Department of Natural Resources, Preparedness Division of the Office of the Adjutant General, Department of Health and Environmental Control, Department of Agriculture, Forestry Commission

Customers Served: Public, local and state governments, water systems, farmers

Triggering Event or Circumstance-How does this program relate to drought? Four phases of drought-alert are identified by a range on the Palmer Drought Index scale. The need for the declaration of drought-alert phases will be verified by other means, including but not limited to other indices; water supply and demand; streamflow data; rainfall records; agricultural and forestry conditions; and general historical climatological data.

Unmet Needs at federal, state, local and tribal levels. Includes changes from customer or "provider" perspective: 1) No single point of contact for access to Federal programs. 2) Need a national drought policy. 3) Need an accurate, early warning, monitoring, and prediction system. 4) Confusion about roles of each level of government for monitoring, mitigation, and response. 5) Need drought contingency plans at all levels of government and the private sector. 6) Better data and information on drought impacts including costs. 7) Access to financial assistance for mitigation and response. 8) Need research and development on drought mitigation measures.

Program Limitations: Legislative recommendation required for committee appointment makes filling vacancies difficult. Tied to Palmer Drought Index as primary signal. Limited mitigation measures. Resources for the State Drought Office are insufficient. State Drought Office visibility and organizational status are too low. State Drought Office needs, at a minimum, 1.5 full time employee(s).

Contact Name and Phone Number: Hope Mizzell
(803) 737-0800