Local efforts in Union County to save the Sparta Aquifer from the early 20th century over-pumping that nearly destroyed the region’s source of potable water are being recognized statewide.
According to an email from Sherrel Johnson, Union County Water Conservation Board grants administrator, one University of Arkansas Little Rock law professor uses the South Arkansas Sparta Recovery Initiative/Ouachita River Alternative Industrial Water Supply Project as reason why students shouldn’t fret about a continuing statewide groundwater crisis.
Johnson advises she met Ken Gould, UALR law professor in one of many meetings she and UCWCB President Rob Reynolds have attended to contribute to the scheduled update to the state water plan. In subsequent emails, Gould said he’s used Union County as an example of exemplary groundwater work.
According to Gould:
“My Water Law class at the law school includes a heavy emphasis on the Arkansas groundwater crisis. After learning about general Arkansas groundwater law, policy, and politics, the students despair of a solution to the crisis. But their hope for the possibility of a positive resolution returns after I then present the ‘Sparta Aquifer Remediation Act’ [Act 1050 of 1999] and what has been accomplished in Union County — a model to which the rest of the state may want to look.”
“In addition, I am working with four law students on research projects related to the Water Plan work. That research is looking toward establishing a permanent Arkansas Water Law and Policy Institute at the UALR School of Law.”