Baton Rouge-area groundwater commission to mull problems, solutions for aquifer demand

Jul 31, 2019

After a critical state audit, an ethics complaint and charges from environmentalists that the "foxes are guarding the hen house," the Capital Area groundwater commission will kick off a lengthy strategic planning process Thursday to answer its most critical question for the future.

How can Southern Hills aquifer support the Baton Rouge region's water use as new people and businesses increase their demand on the critical drinking water source?

The commission has contracted with the nonprofit Water Institute of the Gulf to lead the process that begins with a pair of two-hour meetings — one at 1:30 p.m. Thursday and the second at 8:30 a.m. Friday — at the U.S. Geological Survey offices in Baton Rouge.

Alyssa Dausman, a hydrologist and vice president for science at the Water Institute, told a state water resources panel Wednesday that though the 18-member Baton Rouge-area commission has a variety of interests represented, she has come to a realization.

She said her own one-on-one interviews of the members showed her they are on the "same page" as far as long-term goals.

"We need clean water. Alright, it's not like rocket science. In 50 years to 100 years, I would like to have clean water available for drinking or industry. We would like to have jobs. We would like for that growth to continue," she said the groundwater commissioners have told her.

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