SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Spartanburg County is considered to be in the initial stages of a drought, according to state and local officials.
According to Spartanburg County Water, the SC Drought Response Committee recently reported a mild drought for multiple areas in the state, including Spartanburg County.
Incipient drought is considered the first stage of drought, and is treated as an “awareness stage” for impacted areas.
The designation is based on a number of indicators, including including percent of normal rainfall, crop moisture, streamflow levels, fire indexes, lake and reservoir levels and groundwater level.
According to the state’s resource for tracking drought conditions across South Carolina, most of the Upstate is in the incipient drought stage.
So far this year, Spartanburg County has gotten about 1.3 fewer inches of rain than in a normal year, according to Jennifer Candler, communications manager at Spartanburg Water.
“It doesn’t sound like a lot. Incipient is where it would go up to about 1.49 inches, that is kind of the threshold,” she said. “If we continue on the path we are at and get to a moderate drought, that’s anywhere from one and a half to almost three inches below normal rainfall.”
More practically the lack of rainfall can be seen in lakes and rivers in the area.
“Our reservoirs are at a point you can tell, we are getting questions about it. It’s not really low, but it’s (down) like a foot and a half on Lake Bowen,” Candler said.
Spartanburg County Water is not advocating for any water usage restrictions, but is actively monitoring and preparing for changes in the drought phase.
“At this time, Spartanburg Water remains in a good place with our reservoir levels and availability of water for our customers, however, with any indication of drought it is a great opportunity for our community to use water wisely and be mindful of our drinking water resources,” said Ken Tuck, Spartanburg Water Director of Drinking Water Services and member of the Central Drought Management Area Committee. “It is also a good time for Spartanburg Water to proactively prepare for any additional drought measures, should they be necessary in the future.”