"A ten-parish area from greater Baton Rouge to St. Tammany Parish gets its drinking water from the Southern Hills Aquifer system--a number of interdependent units that start to the north in Mississippi. Over half a century of efforts to protect the aquifer from industry have yielded results but more needs to be done. Fracking in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale play in Southeast Louisiana is one threat. New Orleans-based Helis Oil & Gas wants to drill down through the aquifer near Mandeville, La. this summer. A bigger menace, however, is salt's entry into the system as water demand swells in Baton Rouge.
Meanwhile, New Orleans uses some groundwater for industry, including power generation, from the Gonzales-New Orleans aquifer. But the Crescent City relies on the Mississippi River for drinking water."
Salinity has increased in the Southern Hills Aquifer system because of water needs in and around Baton Rouge. "Both industry and public supply users, such as the Baton Rouge Water Company, are drawing saline water north across the Baton Rouge fault from the south towards a demand center--a cluster of industries north of downtown Baton Rouge," geologist and hydrologist Douglas Carlson, an assistant professor of research at Louisiana State University, said last week. "Public supply wells tend to be spread out in East Baton Rouge Parish, and their demand is more diffuse than industries concentrated north of downtown Baton Rouge."