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Potentiometric surfaces, 2011–12, and water-level differences between 1995 and 2011–12, in wells of the “200-foot,” “500-foot,” and “700-foot” sands of the Lake Charles area, southwestern Louisiana

September 28, 2020

Water levels were determined in 90 wells to prepare 2011–12 potentiometric surfaces focusing primarily on the “200-foot,” 500-foot,” and “700-foot” sands of the Lake Charles area, which are part of the Chicot aquifer system underlying Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes of southwestern Louisiana. These three aquifers provided 34 percent of the total water withdrawn and 93 percent of the groundwater withdrawn in Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes in 2012 (84.5 million gallons per day [Mgal/d]). This work was completed by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, to assist in developing and evaluating groundwater-resource management strategies. The highest water levels determined in wells screened in the “200-foot,” “500-foot,” and “700-foot” sands were about 8 feet (ft) above the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD 29), 2 ft below NGVD 29, and 14 ft below NGVD 29, respectively, and were located in northwestern Calcasieu Parish. The lowest water levels determined in wells screened in the “200-foot,” “500-foot,” and “700-foot” sands were approximately 50, 80, and 70 ft below NGVD 29, respectively, and were located in the southern Lake Charles metropolitan area, to the west of Prien Lake, and between the cities of Lake Charles and Sulphur, respectively. The primary groundwater flow direction in these three aquifers was radially towards pumping centers overlying the water-level lows. Comparisons of water-level differences in 42 wells measured in 1995 and 2011–12 indicated that the maximum increases in water levels for wells screened in the “200-foot,” “500-foot,” and “700-foot” sands were approximately 7, 31, and 19 ft, respectively. Water-level increases coincided with a decline in total groundwater withdrawals during the period (about 25 Mgal/d from 1995 to 2012) from these sands. More specifically, withdrawals from the “500-foot” sand affected water levels in wells screened in the “200-foot” and “700-foot” sands because the three are hydraulically connected and withdrawals from the “500-foot” sand were greater by volume than withdrawals from the “200-foot” and “700-foot” sands.