SC Floodwater Commission suggests building reservoirs, artificial reefs to mitigate floods


CHERAW, SC (WBTW) – Erosion control, technology upgrades and protecting the electrical grid are just some ideas from state leaders trying to reduce the impact of flooding in South Carolina.

Gov. Henry McMaster created the South Carolina Floodwater Commission after Hurricane Florence, which was the latest major flooding event in the state this decade. The floodwater commission presented its initial report at Cheraw State Park on Monday. Many of those on the commission say it will take statewide teamwork and education to minimize the damage of destructive floods.

The commission has 10 task forces with different missions, but they share one goal: Reduce flooding.

“There is no doubt that South Carolina will soon be a world leader in water management,” said Tom Mullikin, who’s the chair of the floodwater commission and a professor at Coastal Carolina University. “We look forward to working with you, as we all endeavor to take this thing to even greater heights.”

It includes recommendations like getting more federal disaster funds, having governments coordinate resources more efficiently and educating people.

“Of those surveyed, only 12% knew what flood zone they happen to live in,” said Mayor John Tecklenburg of Charleston.

Some ideas like enhanced river modeling can not only help during a major storm, but also when planning where homes should be built.

“We can use that information to guide not just our emergency preparation and our emergency response, but to back it all the way up and start talking about our developments,” said MG Robert Livingston, a former South Carolina Adjutant General.

Another recommendation is to modify streams and rivers, or even create new reservoirs.

“We know the costs in that are huge, but the economic benefit of lakes with all the development that goes around them could be fairly significant,” said Mark Robertson, state director for The Nature Conservancy.

There are also man-made and natural erosion control ideas like artificial reefs in the ocean just offshore.

“Those are designed to reduce wave attenuations, or reduce the energy of waves before they impact the shore, and to trap sediment,” said Dr. Will Ambrose, vice dean of the School of the Coastal Environment at CCU.

The commission’s final report will be presented during its last meeting of the year in Horry County. Members will also help clean some debris in drainage areas there like they did in Marion County in June.

The meeting will be held on Nov. 8.

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