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Bill Number: 242 Ratification Number: 286 Act Number 282 Introducing Body: Senate Subject: Water use reporting act
(A282, R286, S242)
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING CHAPTER 4 TO TITLE 49 SO AS TO AUTHORIZE THE SOUTH CAROLINA WATER RESOURCES COMMISSION TO PROMULGATE REGULATIONS TO REQUIRE THE REPORTING OF SUBSTANTIAL USE, WITHDRAWAL, OR DIVERSION OR OBTAINING OF SURFACE, UNDERGROUND AND OTHER WATERS OF THE STATE AND DRILLING FOR WATER AND PRESCRIBE GUIDELINES FOR SUCH REGULATIONS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Section 1. The General Assembly finds that:
(a) The water resources of South Carolina are one of its most valuable, basic and necessary public resources. This public resource is vital for the benefit of all South Carolinians and as such the water resources are an invaluable public trust. The availability of water in sufficient quantity and quality is the cornerstone of the physical and economic well-being of all the State's citizens. The agriculture, employment, industry, economic development, environmental quality and government of the State and the health, safety and welfare of its people are and will continue to be vitally affected by the use and conservation of its water resources. Current information as to the quantity of water available and the amount of water being used is essential in planning for continued growth.
(b) At present insufficient information is available on a statewide basis to aid in developing effective future plans in both the short and long term by municipalities, agriculture, industry and other segments of society. Voluntary reporting programs have provided some information but such programs are inadequate to provide reliable usable information.
(c) Establishing a systematic coordinated program to report water uses is in the best interest of the public. Such programs must collect information on both ground and surface waters which are interconnected and part of a single hydrologic resource. A prudent and reasonable program of water use reporting will enable state agencies to provide valuable services to both the private and public sectors of the State. One important goal of this act is to collect water use information in a form and on a basis that will allow the collecting agency to compile and disseminate water use data for use in effective planning by all segments of the State's population.
Section 2. The General Assembly declares the basic state policy in the implementation of this act to be to establish an accurate inventory of water use in the State in furtherance of an integrated state water resources policy mandated by the South Carolina Water Resources Planning and Coordination Act, Chapter 3 of Title 49 of the 1976 Code.
S. C. Water Use Reporting and Coordination Act
Section 3. The 1976 Code is amended by adding to Title 49:
Section 49-4-10. This chapter shall be known and cited as the South Carolina Water Use Reporting and Coordination Act.
Section 49-4-20. The South Carolina Water Resources Commission (commission) may promulgate regulations to require any person, business, firm, corporation, governmental agency or political subdivision using, withdrawing, diverting, obtaining or drilling for any surface, underground or other water within the State for any purpose to report any of the following water use information:
(a) Identification and location of any sites or facilities where such water is used, withdrawn, diverted, obtained and discharged.
(b) Identification and location of any sites or facilities where a water well is drilled.
(c) The source and location of the water.
(d) The capacity and location of any intake, withdrawal or diversion pumps or structures.
(e) The number and depth of any wells or underground sources from which water is withdrawn or to which it is returned and the capacity of any withdrawal pumps or structures.
(f) Any water treatments applied to such waters.
(g) The total amount of water so used, diverted, withdrawn or obtained in accordance with Section 49-4-30, including the maximum daily use within each month.
(h) Water storage and treatment capacity.
(i) For each discharge or return of water (1) the total amount of such discharge or return in accordance with Section 49-4-30 and the maximum daily discharge or return for each month, (2) the location of the discharge or return structure and the name and location of the receiving stream, river, well, land area, utility or other source to which the water is returned or discharged.
(j) The method used to determine the amount of water used, withdrawn or obtained. The commission shall not require the installation of flow measuring devices to determine such amounts and where such devices are not available a reasonable estimate of the amount used, based on estimating procedures satisfactory to it, shall be sufficient for the purposes of reporting any water use information requested under this chapter.
(k) The general nature of the use made of the water. Such information shall be required by general category of use only and no requests for information shall be made which require compilation of extensive data not capable of reasonable estimation based on estimating procedures satisfactory to the commission or which would be likely to reveal a trade secret or process or other confidential information as provided in Section 49-4-80.
Section 49-4-30. Information required to be reported pursuant to Section 49-4-20 shall be submitted to the commission quarterly. Reports of water use exclusively for agricultural purposes shall be submitted to the commission annually in accordance with Section 49-4-40. During and only during periods of extremely low stream flow the commission may require monthly reports in lieu of quarterly reports and quarterly reports in lieu of annual reports. The commission shall by regulation establish a procedure for requiring such emergency monthly and quarterly reports only from those water users in the affected low stream flow areas.
Section 49-4-40. The commission shall establish by regulation a reporting system for agricultural uses in cooperation with Clemson University. Clemson University may participate with the commission in collecting and compiling agricultural water use information in accordance with this chapter and the regulations promulgated by it.
Section 49-4-50. Reporting shall be required of any water user diverting, withdrawing or obtaining one hundred thousand gallons or more of water per day on any day.
Section 49-4-60. Any person, business, firm, corporation, governmental agency or political subdivision that drills, bores, digs, deepens, alters or changes any well, except wells intended for single family domestic purposes, four inches or greater in diameter for the purpose of using, withdrawing, diverting or obtaining water within the State shall submit to the commission a driller's well log. The commission may promulgate regulations specifying the information to be reported on forms prepared by it, including but not limited to the following:
(a) The character and depth of the formation passed through or encountered.
(b) The static water level of the completed well.
(c) A copy of the record of pumping tests, if any.
(d) The construction details, including lengths, diameters and thickness of casing, screening and gravel packing.
(e) The type of pumping equipment installed, if any.
Such logs shall be submitted to the commission within thirty days after the completion of drilling, boring, digging, deepening, altering or changing such well.
Section 49-4-70. To the extent possible, the commission shall utilize existing reporting forms and procedures and shall endeavor to reduce the number of separate reports required. Any person, business, firm, corporation, governmental agency or political subdivision reporting information, that is required by this chapter, to the Department of Health and Environmental Control shall not be required to make additional reports to the commission. The commission may require additional attachments requesting information to forms employed by any state agency but only if such additional information does not increase the number of reports required and, in such cases similar information shall not be required on any other reporting form under this chapter. Any form used for the reporting of information authorized by this chapter shall be drawn so that the responding party can readily determine the specific authority under which each question is asked.
Section 49-4-80. Upon a claim by the user that the disclosure of particular water use information, other than the total amount used, diverted, withdrawn or obtained would reveal a trade secret, process or other confidential information or would impair national security, the commission shall hold such water use information confidential. Compilations of water use information not identifiable to the user may be published by the commission. In any case in which the total amount of water used, diverted, withdrawn or obtained is claimed to be confidential, the commission may require the user to establish that disclosure of such information would reveal a trade secret, process or other confidential information or impair national security.
Section 49-4-90. Prior to effecting any change in any regulations promulgated pursuant to the authority granted in this chapter, the commission shall notify, via regular mail, water users to be affected by such change. This provision shall apply only to water users that are required by this chapter to submit a water use report to the commission at the time a change in regulations is proposed by the commission."
Section 4. This act shall take effect upon the approval by the Governor.