Ground Water Resources Program >> Ground Water Emergency Order

Conservation Order Resolution for Groundwater Emergency Termination

Contact Information


Phone: (225) 342-8244


Amendment To Groundwater Emergency Order, June 30, 2014



When was the Ground Water Emergency Order issued?

In August 2011, Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation Jim Welsh, acting under his statutory authority to protect the state's groundwater resources, declared a Ground Water Emergency in two (2) Areas of Interest in south Caddo Parish, the first around Keithville, and the second in the south Shreveport-Ellerbe Road vicinity.

Who is affected by the Order?

All residents within the below described Areas of Interest who use groundwater drawn from the Carrizo-Wilcox and Upland Terrace aquifers, either through domestic wells or community/public supply wells. The following descriptions are approximate only. Consult the official maps below for the precise boundaries by Section, Township, and Range.

Keithville Area of Interest: Entire area within a unit formed from a point north of Keithville on Hwy 171/Mansfield Rd. just beyond Bledsoe Rd.; then, due west, across Parish Rd. 143 and Hwy 525/Colquitt Rd. (including the neighborhood south of Graham Lane, and including all or parts of Freedom’s Way, Freeman Dr., Scout Dr., and Colworth Pl.) to Parish Rd. 7; then, due south, across Keithville-Springridge Rd. to Williams Rd; then, due east, across the Keatchie Rd. and Hwy 171/Mansfield Rd. to Simon St.; then, due north across the Keithville-Kingston Rd. (including Big Oaks Trail) to a point just beyond Barron Rd.; then due west to Hwy 171/Mansfield Rd. and start.

South Shreveport-Ellerbe Road Area of Interest: Entire area within a  unit formed from a point due north of the intersection of Ellerbe Rd. and Flournoy Lucas Rd. along Chico Bayou (including Redrick Dr. and Golf Ridge Dr. of the East Ridge Country Club), due west along Bert Kouns Industrial Loop, across I-49 to Linwood Ave.; then, due south along Linwood Ave., across Flournoy Lucas Rd. and Mayo Rd., to the Southern Loop; then, due east to a point just beyond I-49; then, due south to the parish line, and running south and east along the parish line (past Wallace Lake Rd., and including Southern Trace development) to a point in Wallace Lake; then, due east, across the lower ends of Cypress Gardens Rd. and Norris Ferry Rd. Exd. (including Debroeck Rd.), across Ellerbe Rd. in the vicinity of Wallace Lake Dam Rd. to Chico Bayou; then, following along west bank of Chico Bayou, generally north and northeast across Robson Rd., close to Hwy 1, and then turning northwest, across Leonard Rd. and then Flournoy Lucas Rd. and start.

NOTE: Residents utilizing City of Shreveport water service are not subject to this Order's usage restrictions. Wells in the Red River Alluvial aquifer likewise are exempt from restrictions associated with this Order.

Why was the Ground Water Emergency Order necessary?

  • South Caddo Parish relies extensively on groundwater for home-use and drinking water needs.
  • The main source for this groundwater is the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer and to a much lesser extent the Upland Terrace and Red River aquifers.
  • The Carrizo-Wilcox is a low-yield, limited resource.
  • The exceptional drought of 2010-11 in north Louisiana placed extreme stress on groundwater resources in the region, and particularly in south Caddo Parish.
  • Without enough "recharge," and with increased groundwater demand to counter the effects of the drought, water levels inside the Carrizo-Wilcox and Upland Terrace aquifers dropped steeply.
  • After local wells began to run dry in summer 2011, the Office of Conservation determined that the Ground Water Emergency Order was, and still is, necessary to:
  • Protect local sources of drinking water for communities in south Caddo Parish
  • Protect the Carrizo-Wilcox and Upland Terrace aquifers from potential damage.

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  • What does the Order expect us to do?

The Emergency Order requires all persons in the designated Areas of Interest to reduce to the “maximum extent possible” the use of groundwater drawn from the Carrizo-Wilcox and Upland Terrace aquifers. Specifically, the Order mandates:

  • Use of sound water conservation practices.
  • No watering of residential lawns and golf fairways; home gardens excepted.
  • No washing of vehicles and equipment beyond that absolutely necessary to achieve proper operation and maintenance.
  • No filling of ponds for non-practical or aesthetic use (for decoration or design); agricultural and irrigation purposes excepted.
  • No filling of swimming pools beyond what is absolutely necessary for proper maintenance.
  • Elimination of groundwater usage from industrial wells for all reasons other than human consumption.

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  • When will the Ground Water Emergency Order be lifted?

    The threshold for lifting or even relaxing the Emergency Order is high; there must be conclusive scientific evidence that water levels in the Carrizo-Wilcox and Upland Terrace aquifers have improved significantly since the implementation of the Order in August 2011.

    The Office of Conservation is working closely with the LSU-Shreveport Red River Watershed Management Institute and the U.S. Geological Survey to monitor water levels in the aquifers as well as to evaluate rainfall and drought conditions.

    The science to date has pointed to a limited recovery in the water levels as extreme drought conditions have receded and more normal rainfall patterns have returned. However, there is not sufficient enough evidence to demonstrate long-term sustainability. The Emergency Order, with its usage restrictions and regulations, must remain in place until the temporary improvement proves sustainable in the long-term.

    Louisiana has experienced two severe droughts in the last 15 years (1999-2000, and 2010-11). Predicting the return and extent of such extreme weather conditions is difficult at best, but the impact on local groundwater resources is well-documented.

    • Most Recent Office of Conservation Update Updates are provided every 6 to 8 weeks.
    • To receive the south Caddo updates by email, click here
    • To review the record of water level measurements collected by the LSU-Shreveport Red River Watershed Management Institute, click below:   
      CLICK to view
    • To review the record of water level measurements collected by the U.S. Geological Survey, click below:

      click to view
    • To review the rainfall record for the Shreveport area, click below:

      click to view
    • To see the most recent drought report for Louisiana, click below:

      click to view
    Background information on local Aquifers and Water Usage

    Although the City of Shreveport and other parts of Caddo Parish rely almost exclusively on surface water sources such as Cross Lake or Caddo Lake, residents in south Caddo traditionally have relied more upon groundwater sources, primarily the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer, and to a much lesser extent the Upland Terrace aquifer and Red River Alluvial aquifer. 

  • To see a comparison of surface water and groundwater usage in Caddo Parish, click here.

  • The Carrizo-Wilcox is by far the most important aquifer locally, both for general use and as a source of drinking water. According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Use in Louisiana, 2010 report, the Carrizo-Wilcox supplied Caddo Parish with about 6.8 million gallons of water a day, compared to the less than 600,000 gallons a day drawn from the Upland Terrace aquifer. The Red River Alluvial aquifer along Caddo Parish’s eastern boundary supplied about 3 million gallons of water a day, but was primarily used for agricultural purposes, not as a main source of drinking water.

  • To see a map of local aquifers in northwest Louisiana, click below:

    click to view
  • To see the types of wells and groundwater usage by aquifer in Caddo Parish, click here
  • To see the number and types of water wells within the south Caddo Parish Areas of Interest, click here

The Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer stretches across northwest Louisiana and into Texas. While a good source of drinking water, it is still a low-yield aquifer in terms of absolute volume of water available. Further, it is inconsistent in its formation, being thin or non-existent in some places, and bulging in others (what geologists call “lenticular”). It has a recharge area that reaches over into Texas but is replenished locally more by rainfall and seepage from above-ground bayous and lakes. Because of this dependence on local recharge, the Carrizo-Wilcox is greatly affected by extended droughts, such as that of 2010-2011, when there was no rain and surface water levels fell very low.

The drought simply pushed the aquifers beyond their limits. Without enough rain to replenish or “recharge” them, water levels inside the aquifer formations dropped steeply. Local water wells began to go dry, and the Office of Conservation acted.