The Buzz

January 28, 2014

POLITICS: No small potatoes - River groups settles lawsuit against Aiken County farm

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to

The Aiken County potato farm fight appears to be coming to a close.

A river protection group agreed to drop its lawsuit against a Michigan farm operator over the company's water withdrawals from the South Fork of the Edisto River, The State's Sammy Fretwell reports:

The agreement between Friends of the Edisto and Walther Farms says the company will cut by about two-thirds the amount of water it originally planned to siphon from the narrow South Fork to irrigate two tracts totaling 5,200 acres.

Reached over the weekend, the settlement does not require limits on Walther’s withdrawals during periods of drought, a concern many people had voiced when the state Department of Health and Environmental Control approved the withdrawals last year. DHEC examined average river flows, but many people said the siphoning could hurt the river during periods of dry weather when water levels are low in the South Fork, a narrow stream about an hour’s drive southwest of Columbia.

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