Caddo and Bossier team with Shaw for regional water study
Entities hope to create centralized water district for NW Louisiana
If you ask local government officials why Shaw Group is studying the impact and need of a Caddo Parish Regional Water District. They'll say it'll inspire economic growth in the area, but they'll also stress such a system puts to rest great concerns, which were realized by many during last year's drought.
"During the last drought, I had several people's water wells go dry," Commissioner Jim Smith said. "So, they had no water."
Smith says ensuring clean, abundant water for citizens is why Caddo Commissioners are spearheading efforts. The study's first phase identified all raw water sources in the area that could be of use. It found water is abundant in Northwest Louisiana.
"We have lakes, rivers, ground water, those types of things," project manager Ken Ward said. "That's both in Caddo, that's actually the region. We looked as far as Webster Parish, all the way down to Toledo Bend."
Ward is overseeing the study for Caddo and Bossier Parish. He say's phase two gathered information about current utility infrastructure to see if pipe connections and partnerships between water districts can be established. Phase three looked at projected industrial and residential growth in the region. Ward says phase four is a combination of the first three.
"Kinda took some the infrastructure stuff, took some of the future growth stuff. It took some of the first phase which is identifying our resources and put them together in a package where we can say, the city of Shreveport as a whole, Blanchard and the rest as a whole, is going to be short this much water," Ward said. "Bossier is going to be short this much water or positive by looking forward."
Ward says researchers have looked forward at how needs will grow and determined solutions in five year increments to 2035. The study hasn't been cheap. Ward says Shaw Group is charging Caddo and Bossier parishes around $600,000 for the study. The first four phases cost $400,000. Caddo parish is covering most of the costs. Bossier has put forward $200,000. Smith says Caddo's portion money is from savings.
Ward assures that money was saved during the first four phases. He claims that Shaw hasn't been paid a lump sum to protect taxpayers if the study finds the regional water district would't work.
"If we have to stop at anytime and realize that it's not beneficial to the taxpayers of Caddo or Bossier, then we're going to stop it to save money," Ward said.
The next two phases have moved forward, which means the water district may have a chance. The next couple of phases, due at the beginning of 2013, will look at the economic impact such a water district would have that includes how much your water bill would be. After that, you will have the chance to voice out about the plans.
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