'It is a huge win for SC': New resilience office created to address flooding in South Carolina

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The act creates an Office of Resilience to handle flood projects and oversee a statewide plan addressing flood risks and mitigation efforts.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina is no stranger to hurricanes and flooding. Earlier this week, Governor Henry McMaster signed into law a new act creating a resilience office to handle flood projects and make plans to address flood risks, statewide.

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“We don’t want to fight Mother Nature we want to embrace Mother Nature,” South Carolina Floodwater Commission Chairman Tom Mulliken said.

Mulliken said he is excited to continue to work on flood prevention across the state.

“South Carolina will confront it. It will embrace water and will create strategies that will allow us … Will we stop the water? No. Will we stop the flooding? Yes,” Mulliken said. 

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Mulliken said the Palmetto State has three challenges when it comes to flooding — coastal erosion issues, sea levels rising and water intake from other states like North Carolina after storms. 

“We haven’t cleaned ditches, culverts, rivers, streams in our state for decades in a uniform fashion,” Mulliken said. “What we need to start with is what we can do to create natural resiliency. The first thing we need to do is clean these waterways, so we can have free flowing water from the mountains to the ocean, like it’s supposed to happen. In many areas around the state where we have flooding, we have an issue with the lack of free flowing water.”

And because this will be a holistic plan approach, it will involve the entire state, Mulliken said.

“You don’t want to clean a river in one county that creates problems for a county down steam, that creates worse problems,” Mulliken said. “We can embrace water in South Carolina. We’ll do that by identifying and creating smart rivers and understanding where we have flooding. We’ll do that by cleaning these rivers and creeks and streams. We’ll do that by taking steps along our coast for a living shore line. It is a huge win for South Carolina.”

Mulliken said the office of resilience will not be funded until next year.