The Catahoula aquifer is an important source of fresh groundwater in central Louisiana. In 2010, about 3.96 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) were withdrawn from the Catahoula aquifer in Louisiana.
In 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources began a study to document current water levels in selected aquifers in Louisiana. This report presents water-level data and a map that illustrates the potentiometric surface of the Catahoula aquifer in 2013.
The Catahoula aquifer crops out in a narrow band across north-central Louisiana. This band is broken by alluvial deposits in the valleys of the Red, Little, and Ouachita Rivers that have incised into the aquifer. Saltwater ridges under the Red, Little, and Tensas River Valleys divide the freshwater extents of the Catahoula aquifer and limit the flow of freshwater between these areas. The Catahoula aquifer generally ranges in thickness from about 50 feet (ft) in the outcrop area to about 450 ft in southern Vernon Parish. Sand beds in the aquifer are generally discontinuous, lenticular, and interbedded with silts and clays.
The potentiometric surface of the Catahoula aquifer was constructed by using the altitude of water levels measured at 29 wells during the period May through September 2013. The altitude of water levels ranged from 0.02 ft above the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD 29) in well Co-51 to 238 ft above NGVD 29 in well Na-317. Groundwater movement in the Catahoula aquifer is generally to the southeast and towards discharge areas beneath the Sabine, Red, Little, and Tensas River Valleys.