Ground Water Emergency Order Update

Date: Friday, December 22, 2011
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 latest ground water level data collected on December 5, 2011 from the LSU Shreveport monitoring wells located in the Areas of Interest indicate that water levels during the month of November have risen to levels slightly above or very near water levels reported on June 28, 2011 from each respective well.

U. S. Drought Monitor Reports for Louisiana dated December 6th, 13th, and 20th, 2011 indicate drought conditions remain in the area. The area is currently classified as experiencing "extreme" drought conditions improving from the previously reported classification of "exceptional". 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. However, the rainfall total for the month of November is reported to be within 9% of the monthly average. Continuing this trend to date, rainfall during the month of December is reported to be within 8% of the normal average December rainfall for the area.

In summary, although aquifer water levels and measurable rainfall data have recently shown encouraging signs of improvement, extreme 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.