Legislative Auditor’s Office Asks Lawmakers to Develop Water Management Plan
The state legislative auditor recommends that the Louisiana Legislature should implement a water management plan to keep the state’s aquifers from running dry or falling prey to saltwater intrusion in the future.
Audit Manager Gina Brown says water is a valuable resource, but the state should not take it for granted.
“Just like oil we need to find a way to manage and protect it because we are fortunate to have an abundance of water resources,” says Brown.
A Legislative Auditor’s report notes water depletion has increased 63% nationwide since 1951, and 579% since 59’ for the Gulf Coast region.
But strain on the state’s aquifers is growing, with 49% of current usage going to energy production, 25% to industry, and 12% heading to irrigation.
“In different aquifers across the state, there is saltwater intrusion. It might not be in the entire aquifer, but in some portions of the aquifer,” says Brown.
So to save the state’s water for future generations, one of their recommendations is the adoption of a Texas-style creation of “water regions”.
“That enables a small group of local people in a defined area really addressing the water issues, and then you roll that up into a larger plan,” says Brown.
Texas’s recent effort to buy water from Toledo Bend for 50 years was rebuffed by the Sabine River Authority, due to public concern over a lack of information on how it would impact water levels.