Protecting Our Drinking Water

Upstate Forever is partnering with drinking water utilities and other stakeholders to protect critical drinking water sources across the Upstate.  


In partnership with many stakeholders, Upstate Forever carefully analyzes the watershed closely to identify sources of pollution, determine effective strategies to reduce pollutants, estimate the actions needed to meet water quality standards, and create a cost-effective, strategic plan to protect and improve water quality. We summarize our findings in a Watershed Based Plan that outlines recommended actions that typically include: protecting sensitive lands critical to water quality, enhancing vulnerable riparian buffers, repairing or replacing failing septic tanks, and installing agricultural practices that reduce impacts and improve herd health. 

putting the plan into action

Once the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control (SCDHEC) approves a Watershed Based Plan, funds may be available to help cover 60 percent of the costs to implement it.  Implementation of these plans helps utilities continue to provide high-quality, affordable drinking water and makes waterways safer for recreation by reducing the levels of bacteria, nutrients, and sediments.


In select watersheds, Upstate Forever can pay up to 60% of the costs for interested landowners to complete eligible projects!  Currently, we have funding available for projects in the North, Middle, and South Tyger River watersheds as well as the 3&20 Creek watershed (see map).  This funding is available on a first-come, first served basis so contact us as soon as possible if you’re interested in participating!

Are you helping protect my drinking water?

These are the watersheds and drinking water providers our work is benefitting!

  • Walnut Creek (a tributary to the Reedy River) (2011-2014) - Greenwood CPW
  • Big Creek, Craven Creek, Grove Creek, and Hurricane Creek (tributaries to the Saluda River) (2013) - Easley Combined Utilities, Belton-Honea Path Water
  • North and South Pacolet Rivers (2018) - Spartanburg Water System
  • North, Middle, and South Tyger Rivers (2018) - Startex Jackson Wellford Duncan Water District (SJWD), Greer Commission of Public Works (Greer CPW), Woodruff-Roebuck Water District (WRWD), Blue Ridge Rural Water Company.  LEARN MORE  about project funding availability. 
  • Three and Twenty Creek (tributary to Lake Hartwell) (2019) - Anderson Regional Joint Water System (ARJWS), which provides drinking water to: Big Creek Water District, Broadway Water & Sewer, City of Anderson, City of Clemson, Clemson University, Hammond Water District, Homeland Park Water District, Powdersville Water District, Sandy Springs Water District, Starr-Iva Water and Sewer District, Town of Central, Town of Pendleton, Town of Williamston, and West Anderson Water District. LEARN MORE about project funding availability. 
  • Lake Keowee (2020) - Greenville Water, Seneca Light & Water, in partnership with the Lake Keowee Source Water Protection Team. LEARN MORE about project funding availabilty.
  • Lake Greenwood (2021) - Laurens County Water and Sewer Comission, Greenwood CPW, in partnership with South Carolina Rural Water Association
  • Twelvemile Creek (2024) - Easley Central Water District, City of Pickens, in partnership with Clemson University Center for Watershed Excellence
  • NEW! Rocky River (2024-2026) - City of Abbeville, Starr Iva Water and Sewer District
For more information about how Upstate Forever is Protecting Our Drinking Water,
contact Katie Hottel, Clean Water & GIS Manager, at


Error Message