Letter: Water panel a good idea

Back in the day, our state had what was called the Louisiana Ground Water Resources Commission, which met periodically to discuss the state of the aquifers that supply massive volumes of fresh water for agricultural irrigation in central and north Louisiana and industrial water for such heavy users as ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge.

Not long before the onset of the ongoing record-setting drought that reminded Texans and Oklahomans of their extreme dependence on fresh water, some farsighted Louisianans successfully promoted the need to take stock of Louisiana’s freshwater, which seems unlimited but is anything but.

Thus the authority of the “ground water” commission was duly expanded to include Ol’ Man River, that quenches the thirst of New Orleans, and does its best to maintain our estuarine zone, buffer the ever-intruding salt water from the Gulf and supply the hydrologic needs of our always thirsty coastal wetlands.

Robert Stewart reported Sunday in The Advocate that state Sen. Gerald Long, R-Winnfield, is calling for the Louisiana Water Resources Commission to develop a comprehensive, conservation-minded Louisiana Water Resources Plan within three years. This plan would identify what we have, project what we’ll need in the future and perhaps suggest opportunities for switching from ground water to surface water, e.g., to safeguard the Baton Rouge aquifer.

I heartily commend Sen. Long for his far-sighted proposal.

Leonard Bahr

coastal scientist

Baton Rouge