Arkansas has some of the best water quality in the lower 48 states and an abundance of water, however our water quality and quantity is under threat due to land use, discharges into waterbodies, in-stream activities and other sources of pollution.
The Arkansas Water Plan (AWP) is the State’s policy for long-term water management, and it was updated this year. Now implementation is key to protecting the quality and quantity of this precious resource. The AWP brings data, science, and public input together to define water demands, water supplies, issues and potential solutions to meet our future needs.
CFC members have been working tirelessly for years to make sure the AWP includes important water quality and quantity provisions. Now that the AWP has been adopted, we must stay involved, and continue pushing to ensure the AWP and other regulations that protect the health, quality and quantity of our waters are implemented and enforced.
Improving nutrient management
Excessive nitrogen and phosphorus (nutrients) found primarily in animal waste, fertilizer runoff and sewage treatment plant discharges is toxic to plants, wildlife and small pets. These nutrients can harm drinking water supplies, create mass fish kills, and close beaches and other recreational areas. Statewide strategies and policies must protect water resources while not overburdening farmers or industry. We need fair policies and procedures that ensure local stakeholders and the public are aware, and involved when siting and managing facilities that could impact our water resources.
Including sound science
To properly implement the AWP, we must use sound science to gather data, make decisions and take action. In the absence of properly collected and usable data, it is impossible to make sustainable decisions that protect our needs and the aquatic needs of fish and wildlife.
Ensuring interagency collaboration and stakeholder engagement
The AWP calls for ongoing collaboration and engagement from numerous agencies and entities as we implement new policy. We need to support agencies and stakeholders to sustain collaborative efforts, engage the community and continuously improve the AWP and state water policies.
Maintaining and protecting water quality
The federal Clean Water Act’s antidegradation requirements are designed to keep clean waters clean and improve public participation in decisions involving water quality. We need policies that advance Arkansas’ anti-degradation standards to maintain and protect this precious resource.