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Capacity Use Program: Trident Groundwater Management Plan

The Department presented the Groundwater Management Plan for the Trident Capacity Use Area to the DHEC Board for approval on May 11, 2017, and it was approved.  The plan was also approved unanimously by the Berkley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments on May 8, 2017, and has been supported by the Department of Natural Resources, Farm Bureau Federation, and Department of Commerce. 

This initial plan outlines management strategies to establish and ensure sustainable use of groundwater resources, which will guide future DHEC permit decisions.  All existing and pending permit decisions will be evaluated for consistency with the Trident Groundwater Management Plan if approved by the Board.  

Overview

The Groundwater Use and Reporting Act requires that Groundwater Management Plans be developed for designated Capacity Use Areas.  The Department partnered with the Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester (BCD) Council of Governments (COG) to develop the Groundwater Management Plan for the Trident Capacity Use Area.   This plan allows growth and economic development in the Trident Area to continue, taking into consideration the availability of groundwater to support this growth while conserving and protecting this valuable resource. 

Issues

The Trident Groundwater Management Plan has five elements:

  1. Reduction of groundwater withdrawals in areas of concentrated pumping;
  2. Review permit applications based on demonstrated reasonable use;
  3. Establish a comprehensive groundwater monitoring program;
  4. Establish a conservation education plan for the general public and existing groundwater withdrawers; and,
  5. Issue permits in accordance with the groundwater management plan and update the plan every five years to incorporate new information.

This Groundwater Management Plan was established in order to put groundwater resources to their fullest beneficial use while protecting the long-term viability of this important resource. The plan was discussed with stakeholders since early 2017 and was approved by the DHEC Board on May 11. This initial plan outlines current best practices for groundwater management, and will be updated when the state water planning process (including a new groundwater model of the coastal plain) is completed in three to five years.

While the Groundwater Management Plan does not address any specific permits, it outlines a strategy that allows continued, unimpeded local economic growth, while establishing a process for issuing permits based on reasonable use that is protective of the resource.

Timeline

The Department actively sought public and stakeholder input on the draft plan.

  • A notice of plan development was published in the State Register on February 24, 2017.
  • A stakeholder meeting was held in Charleston on February 23, 2017. View the presentation here. 
  • A public hearing was held in North Charleston on March 29, 2017.
  • A stakeholder meeting to discuss comments submitted during the public comment period was held on April 12, 2017. 
Additional Resources