It is said water is the most valuable natural resource, and the Webster Parish Police Jury is on a fact-finding mission to see how much water the parish uses.

A questionnaire has been mailed out to each water system in the parish asking them to return it with answers to how much water each system uses and other pertinent information needed to conduct a parish-wide water study.

Juror Daniel Thomas, District 3, chair of the jury’s intergovernmental relations committee, said the idea is to develop a water plan so the jury will have information to help water systems possibly obtain grants or use the information for business and industry.

“Most parishes have a water study and long-term water plan,” he said. “They know how many gallons a day, and how much water the different water systems in their parish use. We have some rough ideas in certain spots, but overall, we don’t know.”

He said with information gathered for a water plan, if there are problems later on, such as a broken water main that might feed several areas in the parish, it would be easier to seek a grant to replace it.

“You would know how to size the line and have some expectations, whereas right now, we don’t know what we’re using, we don’t know how many wells we have or the condition of those wells,” he said. “We’re just trying to plan ahead and do some forward-thinking, and do some long-term planning.”

No grants would be sought until the study is complete, he added, saying the water systems in the parish may not need any improvements yet.

Caddo and Bossier parishes have water studies and long-term plans, he said, and it’s just time Webster did the same.

Thomas assured everyone the idea is not for the parish to take over any water system in the parish; in fact, he praised the water boards and employees, saying they do an exemplary job in maintaining the water supply to citizens.

“The Webster Parish Police Jury would like to acknowledge the dedication of the citizens that devote their time and resources to assure that water is provided to the members of each of the parish water systems,” according to a letter sent to each water system.

He said the idea right now is to gather as much information as possible so when the police jury hires an engineering company to conduct the study, that is less work the company will have to do. This is a savings measure as much as it is a fact-finding mission, he said.

No discussion has taken place on the source of funding for the study, Thomas said, adding they are in the very early stages of the project.

The questionnaire asks each water system detailed questions regarding water usage, current contact information, water sources, water treatments, and other information pertinent to the study.

There is no timeline on when the study will be conducted or when the water systems are to have these questionnaires submitted. Thomas said the sooner the better, and hopes to offer the responses in the May or June meeting.