Over the last few days, rain has been prevalent in Calcasieu Parish but in Beauregard Parish and Vernon Parish, it is a completely different story. Here's why that is important: Beauregard and Vernon are the recharging areas for the Chicot Aquifer (underground water supply). And that aquifer is where we, in the five Parishes, have our main water supply. Rain falls in those northern Parishes and that water seeps down in the Chicot Aquifer to recharge and replenish.
DeRidder's Public Works Director, Allen Shellenbarger says, "If the rain doesn't come as we need it, the recharging rate will be slowed down and in the future we could experience problems".
Beauregard Parish pulls about 12.25 million gallons of water daily from the Chicot Aquifer. About 35,000 people live in the Parish with about half the population living in the rural areas. Those rural areas are seeing an issue with drought when it comes to grass for cattle and fish for the stock ponds.
Another issue for rural areas comes in the form of safety - dry hydrants. Dry hydrants are set up just outside of a pond. There is a pipe that runs from the dry hydrant into a nearby pond. Fire trucks would connect their hose to the dry hydrant and use the water pumped out of the pond. But if the pond is dry, that presents a problem for property. Parish Manager for Beauregard Parish Police Jury, Elton Pickering says, "If we had a fire now, I don't think you could hardly get some water out of the pond to help. So we would have to depend on regular hydrants from the water district."