As used in this chapter:

(a) "Department" means the Department of Natural Resources.

Terms Used In South Carolina Code 49-23-20

  • Department: means the Department of Natural Resources. See South Carolina Code 49-23-20
  • Drought: means a period of diminished precipitation which results in negative impacts upon the hydrology, agriculture, biota, energy, and economy of the State. See South Carolina Code 49-23-20
  • Drought indices: means topical and quantitative indicators of drought including, but not limited to, sustained decline in water levels of natural flowing streams and other natural bodies of water, decline in water tables above and below ground, forest fire indices, sustained decline in potable drinking water supplies, agricultural stress, low soil moisture, and low precipitation. See South Carolina Code 49-23-20
  • Drought Response Committee: means the committee created under Section 49-23-60 to be convened to address drought related problems and responses. See South Carolina Code 49-23-20
  • Extreme drought: means that the drought has increased to extreme levels as demonstrated by drought indices. See South Carolina Code 49-23-20
  • Incipient drought: means that there is a threat of a drought as demonstrated by drought indices. See South Carolina Code 49-23-20

(b) "Conservation" means, to minimize or prevent depletion or waste of the water resource.

(c) "Drought Response Committee" means the committee created under Section 49-23-60 to be convened to address drought related problems and responses.

(d) "Office of primary responsibility" means the Department of Natural Resources.

(e) "Person" means all persons, including individuals, firms, partnerships, associations, public or private institutions, municipalities or political subdivisions, governmental agencies, or private or public corporations organized under the laws of this State or another state or country.

(f) "Drought" means a period of diminished precipitation which results in negative impacts upon the hydrology, agriculture, biota, energy, and economy of the State.

(g) "Water resources" means water on or beneath the surface of the ground, including natural and artificial water courses, lakes or ponds, and water percolating, standing, or flowing beneath the surface of the ground.

(h) "Diffused surface water" means waters of a casual or vagrant character, lying or running on the surface of the earth but not in definite courses, streams, or waterbodies.

(i) "Drought indices" means topical and quantitative indicators of drought including, but not limited to, sustained decline in water levels of natural flowing streams and other natural bodies of water, decline in water tables above and below ground, forest fire indices, sustained decline in potable drinking water supplies, agricultural stress, low soil moisture, and low precipitation. The department must, through regulation, establish specific numerical values for the indicies that define each level of drought.

(j) "Incipient drought" means that there is a threat of a drought as demonstrated by drought indices. The incipient drought phase shall initiate inhouse mobilization by department personnel and the Drought Response Committee. The department shall routinely monitor the climatic variables, streamflow, and water levels in potable drinking water supplies and water levels in the above and below ground water tables and lakes, and shall notify the Drought Response Committee and relevant federal, state, and local agencies that a portion of the State is experiencing an incipient drought condition. The department must increase monitoring activities to identify a change in existing conditions.

(k) "Moderate drought" means that there is an increasing threat of a drought as demonstrated by drought indices. Statements must be released to the news media by the department, and appropriate agencies must accelerate monitoring activities.

(l) "Severe drought" means that the drought has increased to severe levels as demonstrated by drought indices. This phase must be verified utilizing data, forecasts, and outlooks from various agencies. A drought of this severity normally requires an official declaration by the department and water withdrawals and use restrictions.

(m) "Extreme drought" means that the drought has increased to extreme levels as demonstrated by drought indices. The department shall continue to evaluate information from various sources. Upon confirmation of an Extreme Drought Alert Phase, the Drought Response Committee may recommend that the Governor issue a public statement that an extreme drought situation exists and that appropriate water-use and withdrawal restrictions be imposed.

(n) "Board" means the governing authority of the Department of Natural Resources.