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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Water Management

Sep 27, 2022 09:31AM ● By David Dykes

Local Stakeholders Sought to Guide Water Planning in SC’s Saluda River Basin

The Middle Saluda River flows tranquilly under a bridge at Jones Gap State Park in northern Greenville County. Two public meetings are set--one in Columbia and one in Greenville--to talk about surface water management in the Saluda River basin over the next 50 years. (Photo: SCDNR/Greg Lucas)

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) announced dates for two public meetings to provide citizens with an overview of a new water planning framework that will guide surface water management in the Saluda River basin over the next 50 years.

The meetings will also serve as venues for engaging volunteers interested in serving on a council that will develop and implement the plan for the Saluda River basin.

Meetings are scheduled in Columbia at Saluda Shoals Park on Tuesday, Nov. 1 and in Greenville at Roper Mountain Science Center on Thursday, Nov. 3. Both meetings will be held from 6-8 p.m.

In March 2018, SCDNR established the State Water Planning Process Advisory Committee to help draft a “framework” document that will guide the development of individual river basin plans for each of the state’s eight major river basins.

The Planning Process Advisory Committee includes representatives from a wide range of organizations, including the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, Clemson University’s S.C. Water Resources Center, municipal and rural water systems, conservation groups, power companies and agricultural interests.

In 2019, the group completed a report, the “South Carolina State Water Planning Framework,” which describes the river basin planning process and the intended contents of a river basin plan.

Each river basin plan will be created and overseen by a river basin council, a working group of stakeholders with water interests in the basin. River basin councils in the Edisto, Broad, and Pee Dee River basins have already been established and planning activities in those basins are ongoing.

The Saluda River basin has been selected as the next basin to implement the new planning framework. Planning efforts and councils in the other four basins will follow as funding becomes available.

SCDNR officials said that at its most fundamental level, a river basin plan will address four basic questions:

1) What is the basin’s current available water supply and demand?

2) What are the current permitted and registered water uses within the basin?

3) What will be the water demand in the basin throughout the Planning Horizon (50-year planning period) and will the available water supply be adequate to meet that demand?

4) What water management strategies will be employed in the basin to ensure the available supply meets or exceeds future projected demand?

As stated in the planning framework, “Answering the fourth question is the heart of the water-planning process and greatly benefits from cooperation and consensus among all stakeholders throughout the basin. A successful and equitable river basin plan addresses the effects all water users have on one another and on the resource.”

You can download a copy of the “South Carolina State Water Planning Framework” and learn more about the Planning Process Advisory Committee and the research underpinning this initiative at:

Meeting locations and times:

Columbia—Nov. 1, 2022, 6-8 p.m.

Saluda Shoals Park – River Center

5605 Bush River Road

Columbia, SC 29212

Greenville—Nov. 3, 2022, 6-8 p.m.

Roper Mountain Science Center

Environmental Science & Sustainability Building, Room 201

402 Roper Mountain Road

Greenville, SC 29615.

Governor McMaster Previews 2023 Public Safety Proposals for General Assembly

Gov. Henry McMaster on Sept. 26, 2022, previewed numerous public safety proposals that he will ask the General Assembly to consider during the 2023 legislative session starting in January. 

The Governor’s Office said McMaster will propose sweeping bond and sentencing reform for violent criminals and repeat offenders.

In an effort to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals and juveniles, the governor is also proposing strengthening criminal penalties for illegal gun possession to include graduated mandatory minimum felony sentences.

In addition, the governor will propose raising the bar on magistrate judge qualifications, while calling on the Senate to make their selection process more transparent and accountable.

“Law enforcement officers know who the repeat criminals are,” McMaster said. “They commit over 80 percent of the crimes. Where law enforcement needs our help is with stronger laws to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals and juveniles, and with new laws to keep repeat violent criminals and career criminals behind bars and not out on bail. And we must ensure the public has confidence in who and how our magistrate judges are appointed.” 

The governor worked collaboratively with Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson to develop the proposals:

Close the Revolving Door for Violent Criminals

No bond for repeat violent criminals and career criminals.  

Offenders convicted of a violent crime while out on bond must serve an additional five years in prison - on top of sentence received for previous crimes. No early release or parole.

Strengthen transparency and accountability by establishing minimum sentencing conditions and requirements for violent crimes and weapons offenses.

Enhance oversight of bail bondsmen, establish minimum standards for court-ordered GPS or electronic monitoring, and impose penalties on bondsmen who fail to maintain electronic monitoring or report violations of bond conditions to court.

Keep Illegal Guns Away from Criminals and Juveniles

Increase penalties for second and subsequent illegal gun possession/abuse offenses to felony offenses with enhanced penalties and mandatory minimum prison sentences. No bond. No early release or parole.

Add additional violent offenses to the list of violent crimes which, upon conviction, prohibit possession of a firearm for life.

Enforce statutory requirements mandating that confiscated firearms not be put to use within a law enforcement agency. They must either be sold to a federally licensed dealer or destroyed.

Magistrate Judges: Raise the Qualification Bar - Make the Process Transparent and Accountable

Magistrate judges must be required to be licensed attorneys in good standing with the Bar, certified to practice law in a courtroom, and they should be screened publicly by the state Senate prior to confirmation.

State Senators should be required to cast a public, recorded vote on each magistrate’s confirmation.       

Joe Cunningham, McMaster’s opponent Nov. 8, says escalating violence in South Carolina is the Republican governor’s fault, according to the Post and Courier in Charleston. It said the Democrat’s solution is to elect judges by popular vote as most other states do. 

South Carolina’s murder rate is the highest it has been in three decades, according to the Post and Courier.

The overall rate for all violent crimes has dropped by 45 percent in that span, though there has been an uptick since 2014, the Post and Courier reported, citing the latest report from the State Law Enforcement Division, which includes data through 2020. 

“Gov. McMaster owns this crime issue," Cunningham said Aug. 20 in Orangeburg, according to the Post and Courier. "He’s appointed the judges who are letting violent offenders back on the streets.” 

Develop Carolina Fellowship Earns Federal Apprenticeship Designation

Develop Carolina, a software development fellowship spearheaded by the South Carolina Department of Commerce, Build Carolina and Apprenticeship Carolina, announced that the program is officially a registered apprenticeship with the United States Department of Labor.

Develop Carolina is a new, paid apprenticeship for software engineers and open to all South Carolinians who have skills, training or education in a software development-related field. The program is the first group model registered apprenticeship for the tech industry in South Carolina.

“Our mission at S.C. Commerce is to create economic opportunities to increase choices for all South Carolinians. Ensuring that our state has the high-tech workforce in place to support industry is key to that success,” said Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III.

“This new apprenticeship program will enhance our state’s digital workforce and fuel innovation for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

Build Carolina administers the program which includes recruiting, vetting and matching apprenticeship candidates with companies and mentors.

Host companies agree to hire a set number of apprentices and to appoint team members to serve as mentors. Mentors go through 16 hours of training on coaching before the apprenticeship begins. Additional information for interested host companies can be found here.

Any company that employs software developers is eligible to provide on-the-job training to apprentices as part of the Develop Carolina registered apprenticeship program.

Apprenticeship Carolina, a division of the South Carolina Technical College System, supported Build Carolina with developing its registered apprenticeship and will continue to help recruit tech companies to sponsor apprentices.

Develop Carolina is run by Greenville-based nonprofit Build Carolina and partially funded by S.C. Commerce, with additional funding and support from the Appalachian Regional Commission, Apprenticeship Carolina (SAEEI and SCYARI grants) and participating employer sponsors. 

One-third of Meetings Are Unnecessary, Costing Companies Millions (and No One Is Happy About It), a leading meeting transcription and collaboration tool, in partnership with the University of North Carolina Chancellor’s professor and award-winning author, Dr. Steven Rogelberg, released new findings on the cost of unnecessary meetings and its impact on organizations and their employees.

The report found that almost a third of meetings are unnecessary and organizations waste millions of dollars on them.

The findings put a spotlight on the amount of strain unnecessary and wasted meeting attendance places on companies’ financials and their employees, including:

Companies pay an average of $80K per professional employee to attend meetings each year and $25K (31 percent) is to attend meetings deemed “unnecessary.”

Despite the profound amount of wasted time in meetings, companies and managers (78 percent) have never addressed declining meetings with employees, leaving employees feeling “annoyed” and “frustrated.”

Optimizing meeting attendance, while sharing meeting notes with employees who need the information, would not only reduce strain on employees and increase productivity organizationally, it would also help companies drastically cut costs they invest in unnecessary meetings by millions. Companies with 100+ employees, cutting unnecessary meetings could save over $2M each year and for companies with more than 5,000 employees that number climbs to over $100M.

Rogelberg, who has done work around meetings with companies including Google, Facebook, United Nations, and Cisco, and recently spoke to the U.S. Congress, found that most employees cite “organizational norms” and the lack of conversation around when meetings can be skipped as the main reason why they feel the need to attend meetings, even if they deem their attendance as unnecessary.

The expectations and norms around meeting culture in so many companies are “highly damaged,” Rogelberg says.

“When employees are in meetings that they don’t need to be in, they often sit there disengaged, or multi-task which distracts others and can derail the meeting. Not only does this impact the quality of the meeting, but it claims essential employee productivity and time."

Beyond creating a more open and communicative meeting culture, the report found 71 percent of employees would be empowered to skip unnecessary meetings if high-quality meeting notes were shared in a timely manner, not just to those who attended, but with anyone who might need the information.

About the report:

632 employees voluntarily responded to a survey that was conducted in summer 2022. Respondents represented over 20 different industries, with professional services (33 percent) making up the largest group, followed by information technology (12 percent), and health and human services (9 percent).

Job levels ranged from assistant to SVP+, and the sample was representative of different work arrangements (47 percent fully remote, 12 percent fully in-office, 40 percent hybrid).

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