COLUMBIA — Edgefield County and five others to the north have been upgraded to severe drought status, and natural resources officials are anticipating an unusually dry winter season.
Members of the South Carolina Drought Response Committee, meeting via teleconference Tuesday, made the designation for the six counties in the upper Savannah River Basin, which also includes Oconee, Pickens, Anderson, Abbeville and McCormick counties.
All other counties in the state remain at moderate drought status, the same condition that was designated at last month’s meeting.
South Carolina State Climatologist Hope Mizzell said after the meeting – which included hydrologists, representatives from water districts and others – that the projections for this winter are troubling.
“It’s key that you recharge your groundwater and surface water during the winter months. the forecast for this winter is below normal precipitation,” Mizell said.
“The committee is concerned that the levels are already so low.”
The rest of the state, including Aiken County all the way to Beaufort and Jasper counties, remain “moderate.”
But Mizell said it’s up to local water systems to announce whether restrictions on water consumption are necessary, based on local triggers.
The four designated categories are incipient, moderate, severe and extreme.