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.
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.
The Trident Groundwater Management Plan has five elements:
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.
The Department actively sought public and stakeholder input on the draft plan.