Office of the Secretary

 Surface Water Management Program

For more information:
Thomas Van Biersel
or call 225-342-1813

The Louisiana Legislature has directed the Department of Energy and Natural Resources to coordinate the management, preservation, conservation and protection of the state's water resources and has given authority for the agency to enter into cooperative agreements with water users for the withdrawal of surface water from the state's water bodies. 

To make Application for Surface Water Use Surface Water Application  

In August 2014, there was a legislative change that limits the manner in which the fair market value of surface water withdrawn from certain water bottoms maintained by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) can be calculated.


State Representative Jeff Thompson introduced legislation to amend the Surface Water Management Act of 2010, La. R.S. 30:961 et seq., which was adopted as Act 556 during the 2014 Regular Session.  According to this legislation, 


“The state shall be reimbursed at fair market value for all use or withdrawal of running surface water from bodies of water managed by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and determined by the office of fisheries to be negatively impacted by invasive aquatic vegetation.  Fair market value as used in this Subsection shall be at a rate of not more than fifteen cents per thousand gallons, and shall not include the economic development, employment and increased tax revenues created by the activities associated with the withdrawal of running surface water.”


The Act limits the options for compensation to the state for running surface water withdrawn from waterbodies designated by LDWF to be negatively impacted by invasive aquatic vegetation.  The waterbodies currently designated include:


Lake Bistineau

Black/Clear Lakes

Henderson Lake

Red River

Black Bayou (Bossier Parish)

Caddo Lake

Saline Lake

Toledo Bend

Turkey Creek Lake

Cross Lake


The Act requires that payments for water withdrawn from these designated lakes/rivers be made to the Aquatic Plant Control Fund (La. R.S. 56:10.1).  Additionally, this Act requires that funds generated by water withdrawals be used to combat invasive aquatic vegetation such as Water Hyacinth, Hydrillia and Giant Salvinia.


Questions about these waterbodies can be directed to DENR’s Thomas Van Biersel at (225) 342-1813 and LDWF’s Richard Williams at (225) 765-2383.



Related Information and Links



The Surface Water Management Program was established by the following legislative acts beginning in 2010. Act 955 of 2010Act 261 of 2012, Act 285 of 2014, Act 556 of 2014Act 248 of 2016, Act 500 of 2018 and Act 66 of 2020

To view a summary of water resources in Louisiana, see the Preliminary Draft Statewide Ground Water Management Plan, Sept. 2, 2010.  

Also, in accordance with 2010’s House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 1, the state Ground Water Commission has produced a highly-acclaimed report in 2012, “Managing Louisiana’s Ground Water Resources, With Supplemental Information on Surface Water Resources: An Interim Report to the Louisiana Legislature.” Followed by the, Water Resources Commission Update 2013.

The Louisiana Attorney General's Office has provided several legal opinions on the use of surface water. A link to the opinions are as follows: 08-0176, 09-0028, 09-0066, 09-029109-014810-0173, and 10-0289.

Subsequent to issuance of these opinions, an interagency MOU was entered into by the various natural resources agencies.

Here is a link to the state's Ground Water Resources Program. Ground water well registration data can be retrieved from the DENR SONRIS Lite menu at by searching Water Wells by Longitude Latitude.  For additional water well registration database information, please contact the Office of Conservation, Environmental Division at 225-342-8244.