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The Water Bill

I have spent the last four weeks trying to amend the Surface Water Withdrawal Act.

This 9,000 word bill was introduced to the Agriculture Committee in the middle of April after having been passed by the Senate after four years of debate. It is a comprehensive bill that will affect every water system in the state.

Upon its introduction into my committee, its supporters assured us that all existing surface water users were grandfathered into the bill at their current permitted limits. After reading through the bill and consulting with Greenville Water System, we discovered that the bill harms the Upstate.

After three years, it will cause Greenville Water System’s access to Lake Keowee to be reduced by 75%. Since permits are good for twenty years, this reduction will have substantial negative ramifications for water users in the Upstate in the future.

My amendment failed in committee, but the Greenville delegation intends on pursuing it again when the bill comes up for debate next week.