(WAFB) - The state is overdue in addressing its complex relationship with water.
Louisianans in parishes near and far would agree, citing concerns about severe flooding plaguing several areas in the state, but accessibility to clean, usable water is threatening to become equally as concerning as flooding.
That opinion was recently presented to lawmakers, who will be tasked with making a change.
Louisiana’s Management of Water Resources audit concluded the state was perceived as “water rich,” when in actuality, widening threats were leading it down a path where budgeting water would become the reality.
Population growth, increased agricultural demand, and shifting weather patterns are draining usable water. Added pressure from other states hoping to cash in on Louisiana’s water is also exhausting resources, the audit says.
The audit cites a 2011 deal in which a Texas business wanted to buy fresh water taken from Toledo Bend for a period of 50 years. That deal was only stuck down because there was a lack of clear understanding about how the water supply would be impacted.
The bottom line is the state needs a plan to manage its water.
It’s a plan Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera claims state officials have spent at least $5.3 million developing since 1956, but have never actually gotten around to completing. Purpera has now given lawmakers a list of recommendations to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later.
Purpera’s full list of recommendations for lawmakers, in addition to information specific to water usage in each parish, can be found in the full 110-page audit here.