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Water Resource Availability and Quality by Parish

Matt Ball on November 18, 2015 - in Corporate, Modeling, Water

BATON ROUGE, La.Fact sheets that detail information about parish water resources and water-use are available online for 34 of the state’s 64 parishes, with more coming soon.

The concept to produce short four to six-page fact sheets on the water resources for each parish was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey–Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Cooperative Water Program. The project has now passed the halfway point with fact sheets for each parish in the entire state expected to be completed in the next three years.

The fact sheets provide a great deal of information on a parish’s water resources: water availability, past and current use, use trends, and water quality from both groundwater and surface-water sources.

“Water plays a critical role in practically every aspects of our lives,” said Vincent White, a USGS civil engineer who is leading up the project. “We all know we must have water to survive, but water is also necessary to support farming, industry, power generation, aquaculture, recreation and much more.”

All of the fact sheets currently available can be viewed by clicking over the specific parish on an interactive map. Printed copies are also available by request. The map also includes projections of when information on other parishes will be available.

“My hope is that these fact sheets provide something for everyone–academics, concerned citizens, decision makers and businesses. In 20 minutes, the reader can have a good general idea of what water resources are available in the parish and have a list of references for more in-depth reading. Water resource stewardship is a community effort and useful, concise knowledge is necessary to do that well, especially in the modern world of information overload,” said White.

A few interesting facts from the fact sheets:

  • Louisiana withdrew over 8,500 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of water in 2010.
  • The Mississippi River’s annual average flow at Baton Rouge was about 3.97 million gallons per second from 2003 to 2014
  • In some parishes, groundwater is available at depths of more than 3000 feet
  • Irrigation is the largest use of groundwater and power generation is the largest use of surface water
  • USGS provides free public access to surface water and groundwater data spanning several decades, including water levels, discharge, water quality, and river stage.


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