Processing Magazine

Georgia, South Carolina locked in battle over freshwater source

October 8, 2013

<photocredit>Photo copyright U.S. Geological Survey</photocredit>

Georgia and South Carolina have spent years trying to reach an agreement on how to use water resources in the Upper Floridan Aquifer sparingly and in a way which is fair to both states.

The aquifier has been the main source of water for the coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina for more than 20 years. However, due to increased consumption of freshwater, the rate at which salt water is entering the Upper Floridan is on the rise. If rates persist, some areas are likely to experience severe freshwater supply shortage within the next two decades.

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According to South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control, the state will have to cut its consumption to 2 million gallons a day, down from about 7 million gallons at present. In turn, Georgia's Department of Health and Environmental Control vowed that drilling wells in the Middle Floridan Aquifer will be prohibited in a bid to save the Upper Floridan. Although South Carolina applauded the move, it also stated that it was not convinced that Middle Floridan use was key to the states' water problem.

Hoping to find a solution to the debate and to do this out of court, a new group has been formed: Savannah River Basin Water Caucus. It aims to facilitate negotiations between officials from both states and will be acting as a mediator for a future agreement.