Six counties in the Upstate of South Carolina are now under the status severe drought. At its meeting Tuesday, the state’s Drought Response Committee made the decision to change the drought status of Anderson, Abbeville, Edgefield, McCormick, Oconee and Pickens counties from moderate to severe.
At the severe level, a number of water-use restrictions may be put into effect based on local regulations. State Climatologist Hope Mizzell says her office is gathering information on the steps that are being taken. Because water usage for farms and lawns typically drops this time of year, the restrictions should have little impact on the public.
Mizzell says the state has been experiencing various levels of drought over the past 20 years as rain fall levels have been below normal. Mizzell says it is important to note that with the rapid growth of the state’s population over the past decade, coupled with industry growth, the demand for water has heightened exponentially.
The committee warns that conditions could deteriorate even further if the winter is as dry as has been forecast. Mizzell points to the effect of the cooling ocean surfaces, part of the phenomena known as “La Nina.”
AUDIO: Mizzell says drought conditions may worsen over the winter
The rest of the state at this time remains in a moderate drought status.