Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview
Overview of Fayetteville, AR

Monday, March 06, 2006

Water Supply--Another Challenge for NW Arkansas Growth

Officials say there’s enough water in Beaver Lake to satisfy the area’s needs to between 2031 and 2049. The challenge will be getting that water to the homes and businesses of the thousands of people who are flocking to the area every year.

Beaver Water District, the primary water source for Northwest Arkansas, supplies water to Fayetteville, Springdale, Bentonville and Rogers and surrounding areas. The mandate of the district is simple but exacting; “We have to provide the water that people demand,” Beaver Water District Chief Executive Officer Alan Fortenberry said.

In an effort to provide clean water to its customers, the district is working with counties surrounding Beaver Lake to restrict development in the watershed to ensure development doesn’t endanger the water quality. Some oppose the restrictions because land for development is in demand. But Fortenberry said not protecting the water supply from pollution would require the district to increase treatment, which would increase the cost of water charged to customers.

The water situation affects not only the major towns but also some of the smaller communities of the area. For example, Bentonville is about to begin a $15 million project to lay 13.77 miles of 48-inch water line to bring in water from Beaver Lake by the summer of 2007, city utilities director Britt Vance said. Bentonville and Rogers now share two water transmission lines, one 24 inches wide, the other 30 inches. Together, they can transport up to 29.5 million gallons of water a day to the two cities, which limits the amount of water that can be pumped to each. Completion of Bentonville’s project will help alleviate Rogers problems because Rogers plans to pay Bentonville $7.4 million to take over as the sole user of the 24- and 30-inch lines after the Bentonville project is completed.

For smaller communities, a good example is Lincoln. In February 1995, 270 rural residents signed up for water from Lincoln, which would require about 85 miles of water lines. In March 2001, when the town got funding from the Agriculture Department’s Rural Development, the project included 462 households and 106 miles of pipeline. Now the project embraces more than 800 households and requires 135 miles of water line at a cost of around $7.5 million, and by the time the project is completed, Public Works director Chuck Wood said there could be as many as 900 families drawing water from the new lines. Towns like Gentry, Gravette and Harrison have also just finished large similar pipeline projects to provide more water for their rural neighbors, he said. “This whole area is just booming,” Wood said. “The only thing that we can do is build more infrastructure to get water to them.”

For more information: http://nwanews.com/adg/News/147078/

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