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Linking Land Use to Water
Quality in South Carolina
As coastal communities in
the south become more populated, there are increasing pressures to develop
previously undisturbed areas. Local land use decision-makers face considerable
challenges in terms of recognizing and gauging the impacts their decisions
have on water quality. An educational program is being undertaken that
is helping local officials understand what issues are associated with
polluted runoff and some innovative ways to address the problems before
they become unavoidable.
The South Carolina coastal economy has many traditional sectors that depend on healthy water resources as well. More than 2,000 commercial fishermen harvest an average 15.4 million pounds of seafood worth about $25 million. In addition, $14.4 billion was spent in 1997 for recreation and tourism in the state, with over 60 percent of that total expended along the coast.
Finally, more than 25 percent
of the states 3.5 million residents live in the states eight
coastal counties. While the population of South Carolina increased by
11.7 percent from 1987 to 1997, it grew by more than 22 percent along
the coast. This pace of coastal growth is expected to increase over
the next two decades. These facts point out the primary social, cultural,
economic, and environmental importance of South Carolinas coastal
region, and why the protection of its water resources is so essential.