Columbia, SC -- On the eve of a meeting between river science experts and state legislators, American Rivers, the nation’s leading river conservation organization, called on the South Carolina legislature to establish protections for river flows to safeguard clean water, fish and wildlife, recreation, and local economies.
The South Carolina Independent Science Review Panel for Minimum Instream Flows will meet tomorrow to hear testimony of representatives from the manufacturing sector, SC Chamber of Commerce, agriculture sector, energy generators and conservation organizations. After the meeting the science panel will report their findings and recommendations on water flow levels and protections needed for rivers across South Carolina to the Legislature. The panel will provide advice on the likely consequences to water resources and river health if various proposals are implemented.
“Water is finite, and there’s no substitute. Clean water is the lifeblood of South Carolina’s economy, environment and quality of life,” said Gerrit Jöbsis, southeast regional director for American Rivers. “We have a responsibility to manage our water wisely for today’s communities and future generations.”
Earlier this year, a bill was introduced in the South Carolina legislature defining how much water is needed to protect river health and establishing a permitting system for water withdrawal but the bill failed to pass. Existing state laws have some provisions for minimum stream flows only during drought periods but the state otherwise has no means of protecting clean drinking water supplies from the effects of explosive population growth and development.
“Scientists predict that global warming is bringing longer and more intense droughts to the Southeast U.S. That, along with increasing populations, will place unprecedented strain on the region’s water supplies,” Jöbsis said. “We hope that the state legislators will protect our limited resource so that our communities and our economy can thrive for years to come.”
American Rivers recently released the report, “Hidden Reservoir,” calling on state legislators to enact water efficiency policies to uncover a new source of water supply. Jöbsis will attend the Columbia City Council meeting tomorrow to present the findings of the report and encourage the City to adopt water efficiency policies.
“If we want to protect our water supply for future generations, we must embrace water efficiency and we must protect the water in our rivers. When it comes to managing our water wisely, the two go hand in hand,” Jöbsis said.
American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.