Heat Wave Proved Value of Santee Cooper Being a Water Provider
People are often surprised to learn that Santee Cooper is their source of water if they live in Summerville, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner or are customers of Berkeley County Water & Sanitation.
We’ve been wholesaling treated water from our Moncks Corner treatment plant on Lake Moultrie since Oct. 1, 1994. It’s the Santee Cooper Regional Water System, with a capacity of treating 42 million gallons per day (mgd). Collectively, the four utilities comprise the Lake Moultrie Water Agency, Santee Cooper’s single customer. The agency, in turn, sells the water to the individual utilities.
It’s a system that’s worked very well in its nearly quarter-century of operation. Municipal and county leaders are pleased with the ongoing relationship they have with Santee Cooper. The water system is another example of how we bring intergovernmental value to the region and the state, from a publicly owned resource (Lake Moultrie) that went untapped for 52 years. Lakes Marion and Moultrie were completed in 1942, the year Santee Cooper began generating power.
Last week’s brutal week-long heat wave saw daily record demand on the system, culminating on May 30 when Santee Cooper delivered 35.64 million gallons of water to a broiling, thirsty customer base.
Although the four water systems have wells as a backup, Santee Cooper met the challenge and will again in the future. Surface water lessens pressure on existing Lowcountry wells that serve residents and industries. This is important.
The June 4 edition of The Post and Courier reported that “…(groundwater) levels are dropping in many of the monitoring wells and have never really recovered from the drought 20 years ago, according to state monitors.” The U.S. Geological Survey states that daily groundwater withdrawals in South Carolina total more than 333 million gallons per day.
That’s why it was so vital that Santee Cooper and its water partners had the vision to build a water system to serve a fast-growing population. Learn more about our two regional water systems on our website.