look for
Saving Water in
South Carolina
South Carolinians are fortunate to have an abundance of clean, fresh water.
Statewide, South Carolina receives an average of about 48 inches of water per
year from precipitation. That's significantly more than the 36 inches per year
that famously rainy Seattle receives.
However, the state has experienced a number of
droughts in recent years; in fact, South Carolina's worst
drought on record occurred in 2008. South Carolina's
population is also projected to increase nearly 18
percent between 2010 and 2030. These strains on
South Carolina's freshwater supply highlight the need
for water efficiency in the Palmetto State.
Ground water is more plentiful than surface water in
South Carolina, but surface water is the source of most
of the large water supplies in the state because of its
convenience and availability. In fact, 70 percent of the
state's population gets its daily water needs from
surface water, and 30 percent from ground water. The
largest cities in the state depend upon surface water for
their supplies. Geographically, the heaviest users of
surface water are in the western part of the state, and
the heaviest users of ground water are in the eastern
part of the state.
By far, the largest users of surface water in South
Carolina in 2010 were hydroelectric power plants,
accounting for more than 77 percent of total reported
water use. However, most of the water is returned after
use. The second biggest user was thermoelectric
power plants, which generate electricity using steam,
and third was water withdrawn for the public water
Agriculture in the state does not rely heavily on
irrigation. In 2007, only about 9 percent of the
harvested cropland was irrigated.
While South Carolinians generally enjoy fairly high
rainfall levels, droughts have recently plagued the
state. In addition to a record drought in 2008, drought
conditions in 2011 officially reached the "severe" level
in multiple counties. Average precipitation,
groundwater levels, and stream flows dropped to at or
near record lows. Droughts have forced both
mandatory and voluntary water conservation actions
throughout the state and raised concerns about
wildfires and the replenishment of water sources.
Along the coast—in the Hilton Head area most
notably—another problem is occurring. Some
groundwater aquifers have been withdrawn to such an
extent that salt water enters the aquifer to replace the
water that has been removed, resulting in the addition
of salt to a previously freshwater source.
In addition to dealing with drought and saltwater
intrusion, South Carolina also must negotiate water
PHONE (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) WEBSlTEwww.epa.gov/waterserise EMAlLwatersense@epa.gov
A rnA EPA-832-F-13-004
OtjTr\ June 2013

Saving Water in South Carolina
usage rights with its neighbors. South Carolina shares
three of its four river basins with North Carolina and
Georgia. Demand on the Savannah River, which forms
much of the border between South Carolina and
Georgia, is increasing due to population growth in
metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia. Hydropower usage of
water upstream in North Carolina also affects water in
streams in South Carolina.
South Carolinians can help ensure enough water for
future generations by using water more efficiently.
Communities and utilities are promoting water
efficiency through programs such as the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's)
WaterSense® program. Organizations in South
Carolina have partnered with WaterSense to promote
WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures, new homes,
and landscape irrigation products that are
independently certified to use at least 20 percent less
water and perform as well or better than standard
models. One WaterSense partner, Spartanburg
Water, has been a longtime advocate for water
efficiency and WaterSense labeled products. The
utility has spread the word about saving water to the
community through its "Every Drop Counts" campaign,
helping to save South Carolinians more than 677
million gallons of water annually.
In fact, if every household in South Carolina installed
WaterSense labeled showerheads, it would save four
billion gallons of water annually across the state.
That's equivalent to the amount of water needed to
supply Greenville County, South Carolina, for nearly
three months.
For more information on WaterSense labeled products
and new homes, or other water-saving tips, visit
South Carolinians Use Water Wisely
South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control
(DHEC) is working to encourage South Carolinians to save water:
•	DHEC promotes EPA's Fix a Leak Week, an annual event that
reminds Americans to check their household fixtures and
irrigation systems for leaks and repair them.
•	Hotels in the state can join DHEC's Green Hospitality Program
and get guidance to help reduce their water use.
•	Young people can get involved in water efficiency activities
through DHEC's Champions of the Environment program. For
example, the student champions at Heathwood Hall Episcopal
School constructed a rain barrel and drip irrigation system to
collect and store rainwater.
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