Water, both above and below ground, is Louisiana's most abundant resource. Approximately 11% of the total surface area of the state is composed of water bodies. The state has more than 40,000 linear miles of rivers, streams and bayous; 400 miles of coastline. Not only is water Louisiana's most abundant resource, it is also the most important. Virtually every aspect of the state's economy can be tied to the orderly control and development of this resource. Louisiana is the terminal point for the largest capacity inland waterway system in the world - The Mississippi River and its Tributaries - and is the connection point of that navigation artery with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway system.
Aquifers containing fresh ground water of good quality and quantity underlie much of the state. According to water use in Louisiana, 2010, ground water provides about 72% of the water for irrigation uses and 51% of the public supply uses statewide. Most industries and all rural users depend on ground water. In many areas of the state, aquifers yield good quality water that can be used with little or no treatment.
Almost half of the state's major agencies are involved in projects that protect or manage Louisiana's water resources. They are: Agriculture and Forestry; Culture, Recreation and Tourism; Economic Development; Environmental Quality; Health and Hospitals; Natural Resources; Public Service Commission; Transportation and Development; and Wildlife and Fisheries. There are also regional and local governmental entities such as levee districts, water management districts, municipalities, and police juries actively involved in the development of Louisiana's water resources.
Water Resources activities have historically been centered on flood control efforts such as levees and other flood control structures. Because of state and federal agencies efforts, 75% of Louisiana's population and 60% of the state's agricultural products are protected by levees.
Public Works and Water Resources Division (PW&WR) provides engineering and technical assistance to eight (8) non-coastal levee districts and provides oversight for their levee inspection activities. This division is also given statewide responsibility to provide for the effective administration and implementation of public works for flood control, dam safety, reservoir development, and projects related to controlling, developing, conserving and protecting Louisiana's vast water resources, to meet the current and future needs of the citizens of the state. In doing this, PW&WR has been directed by the Legislature to develop a reservoir development priority program which will be a part of the state water plan to ensure that the water resources related efforts of all local and state agencies are compatible and are each an effective piece of the overall plan which is being developed by the Department of Natural Resources–Office of Conservation.
Requests for services should be made in writing to the attention of the contact person as listed in each program description and should be mailed to:
Christopher Knotts, P.E., Chief
Public Works and Water Resources Division
Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
Post Office Box 94245
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804