Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Office of Conservation and Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

Statewide Water Resources Framework

Water Resources Assessment for Sustainability and Energy Management

14 months

The Challenge

Louisiana isn’t normally known for a lack of water, but there are several aquifers around the state where demand has highlighted the need for better information and methods to manage water resources in the long term.

The Approach

This study appraised current and expected future water supply and demand and developed a planning instrument that can 1) better inform management decisions, and 2) minimize the potential impact of future growth on overall water supply costs, including for energy use. To effectively manage Louisiana’s water resources, the study developed an assessment framework that can conjunctively appraise supply and demand in both ground and surface water units across the state.

Surface water and groundwater resources typically differ significantly in their availability, quality, management needs, and development and use costs. Managing both resources together, rather than in isolation, allows water managers to use the advantages of both resources for maximum benefit. This study developed a framework and tested its application in three regions across Louisiana.

One key feature of the framework is a conceptual water budget that quantifies the inputs, outputs, water withdrawals, and usage in ground and surface water in hydrologic units across the state. The framework has been constructed to provide uniformity of analysis across hydrologic units using existing data sources. Many elements of the assessment framework can be measured directly using existing data sources or estimated using established techniques. To minimize the impacts of known or expected gaps in information and data, those elements that could not be measured directly were calculated using the water balance equation.