Baton Rouge’s aquifer threatened by overuse, salt water 


    Everybody likes Baton Rouge water. It tastes good, it’s cheap, and, unlike in some Louisiana communities, the people who drink it generally don’t have to worry about boiling their water.

    Not everyone realizes the Capital Region’s easily accessible groundwater also buoys the local industrial base. The Southern Hills Aquifer is a much more affordable source of water for industrial uses than the Mississippi River.

    “It’s hard to overestimate how important that aquifer is to the Capital Region,” says William Daniel, who represents East Baton Rouge Parish on the Capital Area Groundwater Conservation Commission. “It’s the second-most valuable asset in the region aside from the people.” 

    But decades of overuse has taken a toll on that asset. As more than 50 billion gallons a year are pumped out, salt water is creeping in. That’s a problem for residents and industrial users alike, says Alyssa Dausman, senior vice president and chief scientist with The Water Institute of the Gulf.

    Everyone who knows anything about the aquifer agrees something should be done, but how and what happens next is up in the air. 

    Read the full story about the challenges facing the aquifer from the latest edition of Business Report. Send comments to