The Broad River basin encompasses 5,419 square miles within North and South Carolina. Its three major tributaries are the Green, the Second Broad, and the First Broad rivers. The Broad’s headwaters and major tributaries originate on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains and along the southern slopes of the South Mountains. The river and these tributaries flow southeast through the foothills, all joining together in southern Rutherford and Cleveland counties before crossing into South Carolina. Near Columbia, it joins the Saluda River to form the Congeree, later intersecting with the Catawba-Wateree River to form the Santee River on its way to the Atlantic Ocean.

From its spectacular and scenic beginnings in the Hickory Nut Gorge, the Broad River and its tributaries provide water for drinking and industrial uses, as well as recreation, for Rutherford, Polk and Cleveland counties in North Carolina as well as much of South Carolina.