State and River Basin Planning

Under the new State Water Planning Framework, River Basin Plans will be developed for the eight major river basins in the State.

Overview

In October, 2019 the SCDNR published the South Carolina State Water Planning Framework (Planning Framework) which details a new State and river basin planning process. The Planning Framework, developed under the guidance of the South Carolina Planning Process Advisory Committee (PPAC), describes how River Basin Plans will be developed for the State’s major river basins and how these plans will be used to develop a new State Water Plan. River Basin Plans will be developed over a 50-year planning horizon for the eight major river basins in the State – Broad, Catawba, Edisto, Pee Dee, Salkehatchie, Saluda, Santee, and Savannah. Each River Basin Plan will include assessments of current and future surface and groundwater availability and document potential water management strategies needed to address anticipated water shortages or issues. River Basin Plans also will make legislative, regulatory, program, and policy recommendations for the State.

A key component of the planning process will be the creation of a River Basin Council (RBC) for each of the eight major river basins in the State. The RBC will include up to 25 members and will be composed of stakeholders representing a diverse range of water interests. The RBCs will be responsible for developing a River Basin Plan over the 50-year planning horizon according to the process outlined in the Planning Framework.

The Edisto River basin has been selected as the initial basin for applying the river basin planning process as outlined in the Planning Framework. Over the next several years, the process for completing River Basin Plans in the other seven basins will be initiated depending on available funding. Once the eight River Basin Plans are complete, the new State Water Plan will be prepared by SCDNR using the eight plans as a foundation. The new State Water Plan will include an overview of each River Basin Plan and will summarize and prioritize water policy, regulatory and legislative recommendations presented in the eight plans.

Frequently asked questions about new State Water Planning Framework and Edisto River Basin Planning Activities can be found here.