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DNR warns of drought concerns in South Caddo

Officials with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources want you to be mindful of dry conditions in South Caddo Parish.
Officials with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources want you to be mindful of dry conditions in South Caddo Parish.

Tuesday afternoon Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation Jim Welsh is reminding residents, businesses and industrial operators that the restrictions on groundwater use issued in August 2011's Ground Water Emergency Order still remain in place around Keithville and in the South Shreveport-Ellerbe Road corridor.

This includes the 300-gallon-a-day limit for industry and oil-and-gas operations and the minimization of home use beyond purposes absolutely necessary.

Welsh said that under the Emergency Order, some positive recovery had been seen in local groundwater levels up through early 2013, improving upon the conditions observed in 2011 that triggered his agency's initial action.

He noted, however, that decreased rainfall during recent months has led the U.S. Drought Monitor to classify most of western and northern Louisiana as an area of "Severe Drought."  Further, ongoing observations of groundwater monitoring wells in the affected areas have shown sharp declines in aquifer water levels beyond that normally expected through the late summer months.

Welsh also said "While the conditions on the surface are not as extreme as they were in 2011, the aquifers in the areas covered by the Emergency Order have been under stress and we must continue to conserve water and manage the situation before it becomes a crisis."

The order, specific to water use from the Carrizo-Wilcox and Upland Terrace aquifers within the Keithville and South Shreveport-Ellerbe Road "Areas of Interest," includes restrictions such as:

    Elimination of groundwater usage from industrial wells for all reasons other than human consumption, limited to no more than 300 gallons a day.
    No watering of residential lawns and golf fairways; home gardens excepted.
    No washing of vehicles and equipment beyond that absolutely necessary to achieve proper operation and maintenance.
    No filling of ponds for non-practical or aesthetic use (for decoration or design); agricultural and irrigation purposes excepted.
    No filling of swimming pools beyond what is absolutely necessary for proper maintenance.

To remind the public of the restrictions and the need for the Emergency Order, the Office of Conservation has released a mail-out to residents and businesses in the two Areas of Interest.

The mail-out provides basic information about the background of the Order, the specific boundaries of the "Areas of Interest," the restrictions on groundwater use and the science of aquifer recovery in South Caddo Parish.


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