Information about water, from its quality to how it’s used, is available online for 34 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes via a program that joins federal and state resources to produce local fact sheets.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports that work to complete the rest of the parish information continues and should be done in the coming years. The public can access this general information online.
Each completed parish has a five- or six-page document that gives an overview of groundwater and surface water. The maps for East Baton Rouge, Ascension, Lafayette and West Feliciana parishes are done. All of the parishes in the southeastern part of the state and most in western Louisiana also are complete.
“We’ve published 10 per year, so the ones that are public are made available almost immediately online,” said Vincent White, a USGS civil engineer leading the project. The maps are put together through a cooperative effort between USGS and the state Department of Transportation and Development.
The fact sheets are meant to help the public, researchers or others who are looking for an overview of a parish’s water use and availability but don’t have the time to comb through years of studies and publications. This fact sheet brings that information together in one place, he said.
“You get a good bird’s-eye view,” White said.
As other states such as California and Texas struggle through droughts, getting a better picture of Louisiana’s water situation makes sense.
“The state of Louisiana has been blessed with an enormous amount of water,” White said.
The fact sheets can help maintain the resource and provide data for ongoing conversations about water around the state.
“I think a lot of the stewardship of water resources comes down to public involvement,” White said.
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