Ground Water Emergency Order Update

Date: Friday, February 28, 2012
Notice from DNR Office of Conservation, Commissioner James Welsh

On August 19, 2011, the Office of Conservation declared a temporary ground water emergency for two areas of South Caddo Parish due to exceptional drought conditions resulting in higher than normal withdrawal of ground water without sufficient offsetting aquifer recharge. These conditions have resulted in ground water levels in the Carrizo-Wilcox and Upland Terrace aquifers to drop to levels causing several shallower water wells in the two areas to go dry at the end of July 2011.

To prevent further water level decline and reduce stress on the aquifers in these two areas, Conservation ordered water conservation measures and ground water use restrictions. Details are provided in the August 2011 Memorandum and Emergency Order No. ENV-2011-GW014.

Since issuance of the Emergency Order, Conservation staff has continued to monitor hydrologic data in the region provided to our agency courtesy of the LSU Shreveport Red River Watershed Management Institute. Review of the ground water level data received on February 6, 2012 collected from the LSU Shreveport monitoring wells located in the Areas of Interest indicate that water levels from November 2012 to present continue to show a gradual upward trend.  Water level data reported during January and February 2012 indicate that water levels at all four monitored locations have risen above water levels reported on June 28, 2011.  Results of water level monitoring data are provided below.

The most recent U. S. Drought Monitor Report for Louisiana dated February 22, 2012 indicates drought conditions continue to improve in the areas of interest having been upgraded from "extreme" to "severe".  The February 22, 2012 U.S. Drought Monitor Report for Louisiana may be viewed here.

The Louisiana Office of State Climatology rainfall data for the area south of Shreveport indicates monthly rainfall totals for June through October 2011 to be well below respective average monthly rainfall with the month of October 2011 reported to be 65% below the monthly average. The rainfall total for the month of November is reported to be within 9% of the monthly average and continued improvement is noted for December with a 73% increase of rainfall above the normal average. Although rainfall in the area continues to show marked improvement from summer and fall 2011 rainfall totals, rainfall reported for January 2012 fell 32% below the monthly average and February totals to date are reported to be 13% below the monthly average. Shreveport area rainfall data trends are illustrated in the chart below.

In summary, although aquifer water levels and measurable rainfall data continue to show signs of improvement, severe drought conditions are expected to continue to place high groundwater demands on the aquifer systems underlying the areas of interest. The Office of Conservation will continue to closely monitor hydrologic conditions in the Areas of Interest and periodically provide updates on the same. All restrictions and conditions set forth in the Emergency Order shall remain in full effect at this time and until further notice.