LA - Louisiana needs a water plan, auditor says

In a state seemingly overrun by water, state government doesn’t manage its resources very well and faces threats to Louisiana’s water supplies, according to a Legislative Auditor’s analysis released Monday.

Because of an abundance of bayous, rivers and marshes, plus Louisiana seems to flood with near every rainstorm, the state is “perceived as ‘water rich,’” the 110-page report noted.

But the lack of adequate management threatens whether the state will have enough water in the future.

“Specifically, we found Louisiana is experiencing multiple issues related to water because of excessive groundwater withdrawals. In addition, because the sustainability of the state’s water resources may be threatened by other states that want to obtain our water, it is important to know how much water Louisiana will need for its own use,” Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera wrote in a letter to House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzalez, and Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette.

“We found the state has increased the number of groundwater and surface water monitoring sites that measure water levels and chloride concentration in aquifers, and water levels, stream flow, and high water points in surface waters. However, some state and local entities do not have sufficient authority to regulate water use in their areas, and others do not use their authority effectively,” Purpera wrote. “Developing a comprehensive water management plan would help ensure the state’s water resources are protected, conserved, and replenished for the health, safety, and welfare of Louisiana citizens.”

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