This NPR story has been on my mind this week:
Louisiana has a lot of problems – rampant industrial pollution, abysmal rates of poverty and chronic health problems, bottom-of-the barrel education, to name a few – but I, like many others, didn’t think that a scarcity of drinkable water was one of them.
Yet it’s true: between industry, farming, and lawn-watering, we are pulling water out of our aquifers faster than they can be refilled. Which is disconcerting, to say the least.
For what it’s worth, our family has been on the edge of the Conserve Our Water bandwagon for a while, with things like rain barrels and infrequent toilet flushing. I did the math, and the average American uses 3.5 times as much water as we do. So I feel like we’re on the right track…but our aquifer (the Chicot) is being overdrawn by 350 million gallons a day. Which means our few thousand gallons a month help, but not very much.
As is so often the case in our great state, one of the big hurdles to doing anything about the groundwater problem is the lack of regulation. As in, there is no regulation of how much water an individual or company can pump, and no cost for pumping it. And as Tegan Wendland points out in her story, so many of our politicians are cozied up to the industries which benefit from all this free water that there’s little hope of reform any time soon.
The rest of WWNO’s reporting on this topic: