2008-05-02 / Columns

THEIR VIEW

The great river question

The Catawba River is designated the most endangered river system in the nation by an environmental watchdog group.

South Carolina is heading into another parching summer without any extra rainfall predicted and every single county still officially in a state of drought - in a dozen cases, severe drought.

Population growth both in South Carolina and in the North Carolina counties that get first dip into our rivers is increasing the demand by industry and individuals for cheap, readily accessible, clean water.

Our part of the world is changing, and we haven't quite wrapped our minds around it yet. We've always taken water for granted - a free, unlimited resource, much like the air we breathe. ....

The clock is ticking - on this legislative session, and on the era of abundant water. It might be unpleasant, but lawmakers need to act. There are lots of important details, but at its heart the impasse is over how much water companies must leave in the rivers. Given the consequences of setting those levels too low, and the reality of our Legislature, it's far better to err on the side of too much water in the rivers than too little. You can always loosen the limits later if it turns out that they are too conservative. But with this Legislature, the opposite will not be so easy.

The (Columbia) State

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