Plans for Sustainability Assessment Unveiled at State Water Resources Commission
LAKE CHARLES – The Louisiana Water Resources Commission went on the road this week to hold a meeting in Lake Charles, where the members heard plans for implementation of a statewide water management and sustainability assessment to be overseen by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), in partnership with the non-profit, research-focused Water Institute of the Gulf.
The Water Institute will assess current and projected water use in Louisiana and provide a priority ranking of the state’s surface water basins and groundwater systems’ vulnerability to overuse, based on historic, current and projected water use in different areas of the state
“We are a water-rich state, but we need to ensure that we maintain a steady, available supply of freshwater that meets the needs of future growth in public consumption, agricultural and industrial use,” said Water Resources Commission Chairman Scott Angelle.
Angelle said that Lake Charles was an appropriate setting for the Commission meeting and the announcement of the assessment plan because the area provides a perfect example of how economic development and water demand can accelerate relatively quickly.
“There is tremendous development that is going on in southwest Louisiana right now to the tune of $73 billion in already announced industrial projects, and the anticipated addition of 20,000 permanent jobs to the regional economy,” he said.
In other business, Commission members heard:
An update from Jim Pratt, Executive Director of the Sabine River Authority, on the operations and capacity of the Sabine River Diversion Canal, which provides surface water to the industrial facilities in the Lake Charles area.
Introduction by David Borrok, from the School of Geosciences at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, of a research project – funded through a National Science Foundation grant – to study the use of groundwater from southwest Louisiana’s heavily utilized Chicot Aquifer and search out opportunities for the substitution of surface water sources for this demand.
A report by Bryan Piazza of The Nature Conservancy on the organization’s Freshwater Network (http://freshwaternetwork.org), an on-line freshwater mapping, database, and management tool that provides comparative analyses of watershed and aquifer health across Louisiana based on records regarding water flows, impairments (dams, levees, and canals), land use, and water quality culled from state and Federal agencies.
Reports from DNR staff on Louisiana’s groundwater and surface water management programs and the processes that protect the sustainability of the state’s water resources.
The presentations made during yesterday’s Water Resources Commission meeting, including Power Points, are available on-line, at:
A full transcript of the meeting will be available on-line at the same address at a later date.
For further information, contact: Matthew Reonas, Office of Conservation, 225-342-1496, email; email@example.com
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