Pro-business bill a threat to aquifer
Enough evidence piled up over 20 years to earn the "critical" designation for the Sparta Sands, a spongelike underground river -- drinking water for 19 upland parishes. Sparta is drying up at the rate of two feet to four feet a year, eventually allowing salt water to replace the sweet drinking water for which the aquifer was once known.
The critical designation, meanwhile, opened the way for the Sparta Commission to seek solutions for depletion of the aquifer. The "critical" designation spurs action on the local, state and even national levels.