Water plays a vital role in economic development and the stakes are high when it comes to who sets the rules regarding quantity and quality. State officials with sizable roles spoke yesterday at the Water Resources Conference in Columbia. Bobby Hitt, state commerce secretary, said 37 of the 46 counties have inadequate water and sewer resources to attract high-paying businesses. The Commerce Department, Hitt says, uses federal and state money to make improvements in rural areas, where some places have not seen high-paying jobs in 300 years. Georgia and South Carolina have on ongoing feud—some call it a water war—-over the water in the Savannah River. State leaders say ‘water peace talks’ are possible.