Water is a finite resource and its judicious use is important to the future of the state, according to the emphasis at last week’s two-day South Carolina Water Resources Conference in Columbia. State Senator Phil Leventis of Sumter says industry and government have to develop ways to use water wisely. Leventis says that would include manufacturers using state-of-the art technologies to find ways to produce their goods now and in the future by using less water.
Leventis says there is little discussion about water being traded as a commodity. Leventis says the concept is called the exchanging of “virtual water.” He says in manufacturing and agriculture, there must be careful planning for how much of this “virtual water” changes hands by county and internationally.
State Representative Don Bowen of Anderson says his eyes were opened about the importance of water when the levels of Lake Hartwell dropped during the most recent extended drought. Bowen says he is concerned about the metropolis of Atlanta, 12o miles west of Anderson, who may be focusing on the Savannah River Basin as a possible site to fill its growing needs for water.
Bowen says it is important that the officials from both Georgia and South Carolina negotiate fair and equitable use of water to fill the needs of their citizens — that includes the economic well-being of both states.
Bowen says South Carolina is already hamstrung concerning the type of industry it could give permission to locate on the Savannah River Basin. Bowen says it is important that lawmakers across the Southeast come together to take a serious look at making agreements for the fair and equitable use of water in order the avoid the “water wars” that have often occurred in the Western states.