Urge your elected officials to identify funding and solutions to address flooding now.
Flooding in the Lowcountry is not a new problem. Just ask any resident of Charleston County and you’ll likely hear a story. Due to its low-lying coastal elevation, close proximity to rivers and the ocean, and poorly planned development on filled-in wetlands, Charleston County has experienced drainage and flooding complications for hundreds of years. Flooding in the region is attributed to:
- Tidal flooding and storm surge resulting from extreme weather
- Flash flooding that overburdens outdated drainage infrastructure
- Riverine flooding caused by heavy and prolonged rainfall that overwhelms the capacity of river and stream channels
(Photo credits: Jared Bramblett)
Shallow Coastal Flooding Risk
In 2016 alone, Charleston County experienced 50 days of tidal flooding. This is a staggering increase from an average of four days just 50 years ago. It no longer takes a catastrophic storm to cause flooding. Municipalities in our region now experience significant flooding when rainfall is paired with a high tide. Flooding impacts vital transportation routes and causes major disruptions in travel and commuter patterns, and it major property damage.
Our coastal region is incredibly vulnerable. In fact, the Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester region ranks in the top 15 U.S. metro regions that are most prone to hurricane-driven storm surge damage. Scientists predict that sea level will rise 2.5 feet over the next 50 years. What does this mean for the Lowcountry? Simply put, tidal flooding could occur as often as 180 days in the year 2050. The time is now for Charleston County to address the problem and enable our community to prepare for, respond to and recover from flooding.
Category 1 Storm Surge
Funding the Solutions
Flooding problems—exacerbated by rapid growth, poorly planned development and filling wetlands—are expensive to both prevent and repair. However, Charleston County voters already supplied the money to get started. In 2016, our community approved a half-cent sales tax increase for roads, transit, greenspace and drainage improvements. Citizens clearly saw the need for such improvements, taking it upon themselves to pay for them out-of-pocket through the tax increase. That increase will bring in about $2 billion over the next two decades, and $200 million of that money is available now.
Revenue from the half-cent sales tax won’t be the panacea for flooding, either. As a community, we will need to work together to identify other sources of funding and prioritize money to fix flooding first. Our coalition urges Charleston County residents to urge local elected officials (city, town and county leaders) to pass resolutions prioritizing funding like available dollars from the half-cent sales tax for drainage infrastructure. Flooding and drainage must be addressed before Charleston County pursues other infrastructure or development projects.
Have you encountered rain to tide related flooding? Snap a picture with your phone and submit it here. You can help us to identify problem areas and assess the magnitude of the issue. You can upload a picture right away, or later from your photo library. Here’s how to upload your images:
- Click the red Report Flooding button below
- Select what type of flooding you’re reporting (tidal or rain-related flooding)
- Click the green Submit a Report button
- Enter a few details about your photo (date, location, description)
- Finally, click the Report It button
Photos from your neighbors
But first, sign our petition.
The first step to get involved in our community campaign is to sign our petition and urge your local officials in Charleston County to find and fund immediate solutions for flooding.
Then, connect with your elected officials.
Next, you can contact your local representatives by phone or email or attend an upcoming meeting. Please call or email your representative and let them know you’re concerned about flooding in your community. Tell a personal story of how flooding is impacting your life. Remember, a phone call, letter, or comments at a public meeting are the most effective forms of advocacy. Find your representative’s contact info and connect with them quickly using our Local Representative Finder App or our online action center.
If you live in the City of Charleston, check out the City’s Infrastructure Story Map to track major drainage infrastructure projects that are on the docket. You can find information about the cost for completion and anticipated timeline. Use this information to advocate for funding to be allocated immediately to complete these projects little by little.
More information about what the City is doing to address flooding and increase resilience can be found here: https://www.charleston-sc.gov/resilience.
Show up at council meetings and ensure local elected officials remain laser focused on flooding and that their actions back up their statements.
Here is a list of upcoming meetings where you can raise your voice:
Charleston City Council meets at the Charleston County Administrator’s Office, 4045 Bridge View Dr, North Charleston.
North Charleston City Council meets at North Charleston City Hall, 2500 City Hall Lane, North Charleston.
* Please note: If you plan to speak at a North Charleston City Council meeting, you will need to notify the clerk ahead of time. You can fill out a request form here.
Mt. Pleasant City Council meets at the Mt. Pleasant Municipal Court, 100 Ann Edwards Lane, Mount Pleasant.
Who We Are
We are a local, community-driven, diverse, grassroots movement advocating for solutions and funding to address flooding in Charleston County now. We are demanding action to protect our neighbors, coastal communities, homes, businesses, natural resources and quality of life.
Our campaign is powered by a coalition of local residents, business owners, community groups and historic preservation and environmental nonprofits. The goal of Fix Flooding First is to create positive, immediate change locally to address flooding. Our first initiative is calling on our elected officials to allocate available dollars from Charleston County’s 2016 half-cent sales tax to fund urgent drainage projects.
Our supporters include:
- African American Settlement Community Historic Commission
- Charleston Waterkeeper
- Coastal Conservation League
- Crosstowne Church
- East Side Community Development Corporation
- Historic Charleston Foundation
- Johns Island Community Association
- Johns Island Council
- Lowcountry Local First
- Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
- Preservation Society of Charleston
- Middleton Place Foundation
- Save James Island
- Save Shem Creek
- Southern Environmental Law Center
8/21/18 – Washington Post
Sea level rise is already costing property owners on the coast
8/20/18 – Post and Courier
Editorial: Charleston County missed a big chance to address flooding
8/17/18 – Post and Courier
James Island residents say governments are causing floods by neglecting drainage systems
8/16/18 – Post and Courier
A downtown home will be torn down after flooding left the owner unable to sell
8/14/18 – Post and Courier
Editorial: Law that keeps flooding history a secret makes no sense
8/11/18 – Post and Courier
We need to help people move to higher ground
8/9/18 – Post and Courier
Little-known federal law keeps buyers from finding out if a home routinely floods
8/3/18 – Post and Courier
Editorial: Without flood insurance reform, Congress leaves Charleston homeowners at risk
8/1/18 – Post and Courier
Editorial: Johns Island has a flooding problem. Charleston’s zoning rules ignore that.
7/30/18 – Post and Courier
They lost cars in the flood. Now, Enston Homes residents are losing affordable housing, too.
7/30/18 – Post and Courier
Editorial: Protect North Charleston from floodwaters too
7/25/18 – Post and Courier
After floods swamp neighborhoods, no hope in sight for these North Charleston residents
July 24, 2018 – Post and Courier
Editorial: Fight against Charleston flooding goes nuclear
7/23/18 – Post and Courier
Residents asking feds to investigate Charleston for failure to protect against flood risks
7/20/18 – WCSC Live 5 News
Crosstown reopen after major flash flooding event in Lowcountry
7/20/18 – WCIV News 4
WATCH: Charleston’s Crosstown flooding as seen by drone
7/20/18 – WCIV News 4
Crosstown reopens, other Charleston area streets remain closed for flooding
7/20/18 – Post and Courier
Charleston’s WestEdge development promising to fix the area’s flooding problems
7/20/18 – Post and Courier
Editorial: Of course Charleston tourism and flooding are related
7/4/18 – Post and Courier
Heavy rain and flooding dampen Charleston’s Fourth of July morning, but skies are clearing
6/24/18 – Post and Courier
Editorial: Higher seas threaten flood-prone Charleston
6/22/18 – WCBD News 2
Community bands together to fix flooding
6/21/18 – Live 5 News
Coalition asking Charleston County Council to ‘Fix Flooding First,’ before roads
6/21/18 – Post and Courier
‘Fix Flooding First:’ Lowcountry-wide group pushes for action on drainage problems