By Jordan Blum
Louisiana Gannett News
-- The idea of state legislators presenting options for a man-made lake
in Lincoln Parish is music to the ears of Choudrant Mayor Bill
Sanderson, who has envisioned a recreational reservoir since 2000.
Reps. Hollis Downs, R-Ruston and Rick Gallot, D-Grambling, and Sen. Bob
Kostelka, R-Monroe, recently discussed with governmental consultant
Michael Thompson of Delhi the possibility and process of developing a
However, doubts remain whether lake construction
would garner enough support unless it also would provide a major source
of potable water.
Sanderson met with Thompson earlier this year
to discuss the potential for about a 1,500-acre lake south of
Interstate 20 on the southern end of his village, which could increase
development to the south in conjunction with Squire Creek Country Club
developments just north of I-20 at Choudrant.
He described a
lake and an adjoining park in that area as a haven for camping and bass
fishing and a source for housing and business developments.
said the project would need to seek funding through the state due to
the dwindling Sparta Aquifer, which provides drinking water to
residents of all or parts of Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, Lincoln,
Natchitoches, Sabine, Webster and Winn and eight other parishes.
"The key to getting a lake is the alternative source of water," he said.
"That's a major asset. But the main reasons we want one are economic development and tourism."
could provide some drinking water if treated, but Sanderson admitted it
would not have nearly the potential for drinking water as a pipeline
from Lake D'Arbonne in Union Parish.
Ruston Mayor Dan
Hollingsworth supports the tourism aspects but questions whether it
could provide enough potable water to become a worthwhile venture.
"There's benefits to recreation. And I'd be a killjoy if I opposed a nice recreational lake if it can be done," he said.
is there enough water in one of these little streams around here that,
during flood time, you can get some water in there and sustain some
sort of flow after absorption?" Hollingsworth said. "Well, there
probably is some. But is there enough to help in the overall scheme of
"Lake D'Arbonne has the capability, if the water is treatable, of serving everyone in Lincoln and Union parishes."
D'Arbonne must be the top focus if the priority is developing an
alternative water source, said Ben McGee, supervisory hydrologist for
the U.S. Geological Survey office in Ruston.
"We already have a
captured resource in Lake D'Arbonne," he said. "I think before we
consider building lakes, we should look at utilizing existing ones.
With a lake, the major justification would fall on economic
However, Sanderson pointed out that building a
pipeline from D'Arbonne and a water treatment plant likely would cost
more than $20 million.
There are areas around Dubach that could
be sites for lakes of more than 10,000 acres, he said. But since they
would be along the Lake D'Arbonne watershed, any water pumped from
there initially would diminish the water levels in Lake D'Arbonne as
well, Sanderson said.
In Choudrant, a lake could rest along
Little Choudrant and Choudrant creeks and not deplete the water supply
of any other area lake, he said. However, at about 1,500 acres, the
Choudrant lake is less than the 3,000-acre minimum Thompson proposes.
other alternative mentioned is a site southeast of Choudrant that could
accommodate up to a 12,000-acre lake, Thompson estimated. But it would
rest partly in Jackson Parish and would displace some homes.
as much as Sanderson would like to see a recreational lake in
Choudrant, he said he would support the best location in the parish.