DNR Launches Expanded Groundwater Monitoring Program in Partnership with USGS
BATON ROUGE – Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary Scott Angelle announced today that the agency has launched a three-year, $2.7 million program to upgrade the state’s capability in monitoring groundwater and analyzing changes in groundwater levels and quality, in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
The “Enhanced Groundwater Monitoring and Resource Assessment” program, a joint agreement between DNR and USGS, became effective with the July 1 start of the fiscal year, beginning a program that will make use of federal funding to cover the cost of equipping approximately 200 additional water well monitoring sites around the state, nearly doubling the existing count of groundwater monitoring well sites. The program also provides for mapping and analysis of the data received, as well as sampling in targeted areas to address potential water quality concerns.
“Effective management of our groundwater is a critical issue in our state, where it supplies half of our drinking water and more than two-thirds of our agricultural water demand,” Angelle said. “The most basic and crucial aspect of managing any resource is the ability to monitor it accurately, and using the best scientific tools to appropriately manage our groundwater is the most intelligent approach.”
Angelle, who is also chairman of the state Water Resources Commission, said the Commission’s 2012 study, “Managing Louisiana’s Ground Water Resources, With Supplemental Information on Surface Water Resources: An Interim Report to the Louisiana Legislature,” included the finding that improvement of groundwater monitoring capability was “the single most significant and fundamental groundwater resource management issue” on which Louisiana should focus immediate attention.
In the first year of the program, USGS and DNR will work together in selecting new well sites for monitoring groundwater levels and quality, based on aquifer, location, use and other factors, followed by implementing the monitoring process using the new sites. The work of identifying new sites, and building data from the measurements will continue throughout the program timeline.
“Access to a sustainable source of fresh water is the most important and basic need for homes, businesses, farms, industry, power generation, energy production, big cities and small towns. And Louisiana is heavily dependent on groundwater, especially in our rural areas,” said Pat Credeur, executive director of the Louisiana Rural Water Association (LRWA). “Expanding the state’s ability to monitor, manage and advise users on our groundwater supply provides a benefit to everyone, from major public suppliers to each of our citizens.”
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