Installation of flood control projects along the Mississippi, Atchafalaya and Red Rivers caused historic flows of fresh water to be severed to Bayou Teche, Bayou Amy, Bayou Vermilion and the Vermilion River. The severed flow caused serious stagnation, pollution and salt water intrusion in these waterbodies. Delegations from the parishes involved (Lafayette, St. Martin, Iberia and Vermilion) conducted extensive lobbying for many years and were successful in getting a federal project which recreated the historic flow. The project consisted of a pumping station on the Atchafalaya River north of Krotz Springs, La and a series of water control structures to regulate flows as needed. The federal project was turned over to a local district to maintain and operate. That District is the TECHE-VERMILION FRESH WATER DISTRICT and the project has been functional since 1982.
2. What would you tell the rest of Acadiana makes you special?
This project is special because there is no other source of fresh river water for our waterways. Without it, our waterways would again become stagnant and polluted. The uniqueness of this project is that it was paid for by the federal government. The District’s obligation is to pay for operations and all repairs and replacement of project features at no further cost to the federal government. Our charter commissioners started a reserve to have funds available to meet our obligation to the United States Government. After 38 years of operation, these reserve funds are allowing major repairs and upgrades to be made without having to find an additional funding source. The district has been able to operate within budget and has never had to ask for additional taxes or funding.
3. What are you most proud of?
The visions of our forefathers have become a reality. We are proud of this and of the citizens of the District for continuing to overwhelmingly support this project and those visions. Imagine the conditions they were trying to improve - The Vermilion River was one of the most polluted rivers in the country, discharges of waste into the stagnant waterbodies created unhealthy, as well as, unpleasant conditions, there was insufficient water in upper Bayou Teche and salt water intrusion was causing farmers to have to pump fresh water from our aquifers for irrigation.
4. Where do you see your business in 10 years? What are your plans for the future?
The long term goal of our Commissioners is to ensure that the benefits of this project to Acadiana never end and in order for this to happen the district must remain financially solid. Our financial condition is discussed at all monthly board meetings along with current operation and maintenance issues. In recent years, the district increased monitoring of flows, water elevations, and water quality throughout the watershed. We plan to continue increasing monitoring in order to operate at optimum efficiency. We are partnering with other water-related agencies in an effort to make maximum benefits of resources and to properly manage flows during times of excessive rainfall.
5. 1A is making an impact as we take an active role in improving the community, we live in. Our members are making an impact, too! – What does impact mean to you? How is your company making an impact?
To us, impact means being a spoke in the wheel that keeps our area going. The benefits that we provide to the community allows other necessities to take place. A flow of fresh water in a water body allows for municipal growth along with using that same water body for recreation, navigation and irrigation. Our economy and lifestyle benefits from our dependable fresh water supply. As our communities continue to develop, TECHE-VERMILION FRESH WATER DISTRICT is in a position to continue providing the supply of fresh water that Acadiana needs.