Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders wants an update of the Arkansas Water Plan as two of the most critical aquifers in the state continue to decline.
Arkansas Business reports the state plan has not been updated in nearly a decade and the governor’s order directs state agencies to identify the “most pressing current issues” and to develop solutions.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture recently reported the state’s two most important aquifers are declining and withdrawal rates are unsustainable. The report focused on the Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer which is considered the most important water resource for agricultural production in the state, and the Sparta/Memphis/Sparta aquifer. The Sparta is one of Arkansas’ best sources of quality groundwater for drinking and industrial uses.
“The general trend in Arkansas’s long-term water level change is that the groundwater levels are declining in response to continued withdrawals at rates which are not sustainable,” stated the report.
“Based on 2015 water use data, only approximately 44.2 percent of the current alluvial aquifer withdrawal of 7,636.08 million
gallons per day, and approximately 55 percent of the Sparta aquifer withdrawal of 160 million gallons per day is sustainable. At these pumping rates, water level declines and the adverse impacts on the state’s groundwater system will continue to be observed.”