‘We have a dire issue’: Coastal Carolina University launches program to address flooding

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Flooding events in Horry and Georgetown counties are being measured in a new way.

Coastal Carolina University launched its Smart River Research Program on Monday at Osprey Marina in Socastee. The program is being funded by the Duke Energy Foundation through a private-public partnership.

“When you have people flooded out of their house 15 times in three years, we have a dire issue,” said Tom Mullikin, chairman of the South Carolina Floodwater Commission.

New technology in the Intracoastal Waterway is working to collect data about its flooding events.

“We’re no longer modeling, we’re measuring,” Mullikin said.

Officials said the program will help localize their data.

“We want to make sure that we have things out that aren’t dependent on private agencies or other things,” said Trevor Carver, CCU graduate and researcher for the program.

Differing sensors are will be used to learn about the water.

“We’re spreading these about, so we’re going to expand these in our area,” said Paul Gayes, the CCU director at the Burroughs and Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies. “Particularly the zone right here where the ocean is effecting our water and rises and blocks our water from leaving.”

The sensors gather information on the water’s depth, roughness and quality.

“Those all three work together, so it’s important to understand the bottom, the water, the surface and how they all interact with each other,” Carver said.

Officials said the gear will allow them to predict flooding events and track the water’s daily trends, while also preventing future homeowners from buying in flood prone areas.

“We want to prevent you from moving into a house that may be at risk five years from now, but hasn’t been at risk that last 10 years,” Carver said. “It’s important for a homeowner to have that information before even buying the home, to know what pressures you might face, how your land might be effected.”

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