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Nov 8, 2011 10:17 PM by Shawn Kline

DNR preparing for Louisiana's fresh water future

Louisiana's Department of Natural Resources is preparing for the future --- tackling the question, how will we manage a diminishing water supply?

With 66,000 miles in rivers and streams, just under 2,000 square miles in lakes, and over 9,000 square miles of wetlands, why is there a concern about water?

"We're growing in population and in use." Jackie Loewer says, "as our civilization grows, more people demanding more things and there's more use of water."

Loewer is not only a rice farmer, he's also on the state groundwater resources commission. He says right now, there isn't a shortage of fresh water but it's still something to prepare for.

"Human use is a top priority, but we've got an economy in southwest Louisiana of rice that uses the Chicot Aquifer extensively," Loewer said.

Who's in charge of maintaining our fresh water? That falls on the Department of Natural Resources, now hosting public meetings throughout the state to help form a new groundwater plan.
State Senator Fred Mills says there are some issues the plan absolutely has to address.

"We have to dig deeper for our water wells and we're getting more saltwater intrusion from our crops." Senator Mills says, "that's something that needs to be brought up in the management plan."

The plan will be published in December and Louisiana lawmakers will address some of its issues in the next legislative session.

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