© 2024 KUAF
NPR Affiliate since 1985
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Department of Agriculture seeks input on updated water plan

Last August Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued an executive order to update Arkansas' water plan. The state's long-term policy for water management was last updated in 2014. Chris Colclasure is the director of Arkansas Department of Agriculture's natural resources division. He said population shift has been one of the major issues in readjusting water use and management throughout the state.

"For example Benton county has seen very strong population growth," Colclasure said. "So we will be looking at is there adequate water supply to meet the needs of population change."

The department is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop the updated policy and fund some of the research. As part of the analysis ordered by the Governor the department will also hold public meetings to identify water issues.

"We want feedback," he said. "What are some of the things since 2014 that they think has changed? What are some of the things that we need to consider?"

The new guide also calls for Arkansas' first ever Flood Management Plan. Colclasure said the update will look closer at flood trends and mitigation efforts. He also said the new plan will focus on Arkansas' aging infrastructure which has caused drinking water shortages, levee breaches and a dwindling supply of groundwater.

"A lot of our infrastructure in Arkansas is very old," Colclasure said. "In a lot of ways we are behind. Our communities in some cases struggle to fund water and wastewater infrastructure."

He said the plan is likely to be completed within the next 3 to 5 years. The first public meeting was held yesterday in Little Rock with another scheduled for today, March 27 from 2 to 4 pm at the Don Tyson Center in Fayetteville. More public input sessions will be scheduled later this Spring.

Stay Connected
Daniel Caruth is KUAF's Morning Edition host and reporter for Ozarks at Large<i>.</i>
Related Content