We have to be careful and must be aware in our planning for future development. The recent floods have shown just how important our flood plains and wetlands are in limiting the degree of the impact that flooding has on us. The loss of our the flood plains, swamps, and wetlands – while paving over the land – is an invitation to have more storm water enter our precious river systems and overflow the banks. I am NOT saying that development is bad, or that it should be halted. I am saying that proper planning for the future is essential to the well being of our state and to the safety of each citizen.
Climate change has caused sea level rise and more powerful storms. South Carolina’s inland communities have taken floods repeatedly, and trillions of gallons of water dumped by Hurricane Florence. Risk management experts and climatologists can agree that South Carolina is terribly unprepared for massive flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood risk maps fail to consider many factors, but are still used as reference for where and how new homes get built. Horry County has had more flooding disasters than almost any other county in South Carolina since 1996, and it is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation.
Extreme rainfall is not so extreme anymore as the southeastern areas have experienced a 27% increase in downpours since 1958. Ponds, lakes, rivers, and ditches help to hold much excess water, but with more people now living along the the state’s rivers’ floodplains, there is not enough places for water to run off – so it floods onto properties and spreads farther inland.