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AGS / Water / Issues / Quantity


When Arkansas is in a long drought then the issue of water quantity is most often brought to the attention of the public. The prolong lack of rainfall and continued demand causes large drops in lake and reservoir levels that can lead to water rationing.

An issue not often presented to the public is the continued decline in water levels in wells that supply some communities in southern and eastern Arkansas. The Sparta aquifer has had large drops in Jefferson, Union and Colombia Counties because of heavy use by cities and industry. If not corrected the aquifer would become depleted and wells would then go dry. During the last few years the recognition of this problem has lead to the communities and local industries in the Magnolia and El Dorado to switch to surface sources in order to allow the Sparta aquifer to recover.

The largest water use issue will be the use of the Mississippi Alluvial aquifer in eastern Arkansas. This one aquifer is the primary source of irrigation water and as a consequence is experiencing large areas of declining water levels.  Water conservation, using different farming methods or growing different crops and finding surface sources of water will be needed in the not too distant future or this most used of the states aquifers could be lost.

Drought at Wooly Hollow State Park
Drought (too little water) can have major impact to surface water supplies such as this lake at Woolly Hollow State Park.

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Arkansas Geological Survey
Vardelle Parham Geology Center
3815 West Roosevelt Road
Little Rock, AR 72204
Phone: 501-296-1877 | Fax: 501-663-7360
Business Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm

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