Louisiana groundwater levels are declining faster than they are being replenished.
That’s according to a new state audit, which blames low levels on drought and salt-water intrusion as well as increased usage.
Using data from the U.S. Geological Survey, the report from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor cites a 600 percent increase in groundwater depletion for Louisiana’s aquifer system over the last 70 years.
Auditor Gina Brown says management inefficiencies further limit supplies.
“Everybody thinks that Louisiana has an abundance of water, but we need to manage it so that we can sustain the abundance of resources.”
Texas and other states have put in bids to export water from Louisiana.
Auditor Madison Hoover says that without a comprehensive plan, we might end up giving away water that we need.
“Water is essentially the new oil, so we don’t want to set ourselves up for underselling our resources.”
The report recommends that legislators streamline Louisiana’s water code and give more authority to the Department of Natural Resources and state and regional entities to regulate water use.