Q: Is the groundwater depletion problem truly serious?

A:  Yes.  Several studies have been conducted over the years, beginning when the problem was first recognized in the 1940's.    Recent studies by the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, Natural Resources Conservation Service, several universities, and the State of Arkansas have all confirmed a critical groundwater problem in the Bayou Meto Basin.

Q:  Will the project protect the Sparta Aquifer?

A:  Yes. The Bayou Meto Basin Project will help save the Aquifer. The selected plan uses the groundwater at a safe yield, which is the amount that could be pumped without further depleting the Sparta Aquifer.

Q:  Were the project components planned to function separately?

A:  No.  The three (3) components of the project were planned as a whole.  They are 1) Groundwater Protection/Agricultural Water Supply, 2) Waterfowl Habitat Protection and 3) Flood Control.  All parts are interrelated. Using the Marion Berry Pump Station to bring Arkansas River water to irrigate crop land (reserving Sparta water for municipalities) and a pump station and channel work on the Little Bayou Meto to provide both flood control benefits and relieve the stress on the timber from too much water in the growing season. Another example would be the import water system, which would also provide water when needed for flooding waterfowl habitat.

Q:  How long will it take to pay for the project?

A:  If the project is financed with 30-year bonds, the project will be paid for 30 years after the final year of construction.  Construction is scheduled to be completed in seven years with the project being paid for in 36 years.  Once the project is paid for, funds from the sale of water will be used for the operation and maintenance.