- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The South Carolina Drought Response Committee says low river flows in nine counties west and south of Columbia have led them to declare drought has returned to the state.

The committee voted Tuesday to classify Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Edgefield, Hampton, Lexington and Orangeburg counties in an incipient drought, which is the least severe of the panel’s four drought levels.

The Department of Natural Resources says flows in the Edisto and Salkehatchie river basins have been low over the summer, but farmers have not reported serious drought problems and no water supplies have dried up.

Officials say rainfall has been quite variable in South Carolina this summer. Aiken has reported less than 9 inches of rain, while some coastal locations have seen 30 inches of precipitation this summer.

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