Louisiana has been shaped by water like no other state in the union. The Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico fueled New Orleans’s growth and prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries. The abundant rainfall and fresh water that Louisiana receives have literally carved the law of the land through vast stretches of coast and upland areas. And yet, even as other states scramble for fresh water rights, Louisianans have a history of taking water for granted, of considering it an inconvenience rather than a resource that must be safeguarded.
This laissez-faire approach is now colliding with other trends- strong popular support for comprehensive coastal restoration, the need for groundwater protection, and the growing problem of the Dead Zone in the Gulf. If our state is to meet these challenges and enjoy a sustainable and prosperous future, we must take a more directed approach to water policy. In addition, we need to know what the state’s current laws do and do not allow in order to pursue large coastal restoration and other civil works programs. It is vital to have as firm a grip on the legal landscapes that shapes resource management decisions as it is to understand the ecological and geopolitical landscapes. Given these needs, a key aspect of the Institute’s mission is to contribute to Louisiana’s shift toward sustainability by illuminating the state’s water laws and by fostering laws and policies that promote better water stewardship.
EXISTING WATER LAWS
To access Louisiana Law visit The Web Portal to the Louisiana State Legislature and click "Louisiana Laws" in the taskbar to the left.
LAND, ENERGY AND MINERAL USES
Consider land, energy and mineral uses, and their impact on freshwater resources ad other water uses.
Consider how state laws might need to change in order to best support coastal restoration.
EFFECTS OF SEA LEVEL RISE
Evaluate how rising sea levels might affect Louisiana’s coastal communities under existing laws and determine how Louisiana court better prepare to confront the effects of climate change.