Natural Resources

Efficiently and responsibly managing and protecting our water and land resources for the sustainability, health, safety, and economic benefit of the State of Arkansas

Arkansas Water Plan

Click here to sign up for Email Alerts for the Arkansas Water Plan.

Click here to provide feedback about water issues using the Arkansas Water Plan Survey Form.

Click here to view the AWP Stakeholder Kickoff Presentation.

What is the Arkansas Water Plan?

The Arkansas Water Plan is our comprehensive program for the orderly development and management of water and related land resources—the state policy for water.

The Arkansas 2014 Water Plan (AWP) was updated to validate those issues that were identified in the 1990 Arkansas Water Plan. The issues identified and the proposed solutions to water problems remain pertinent in the present day. The 2014 AWP has facilitated progress in key areas such as drinking water supply enhancement, wastewater treatment improvement, and nonpoint source pollution reduction. As the state looks to the future, it is crucial to assess the progress made and continue to adapt and implement strategies to ensure the sustainability, health, safety, and economic benefit of Arkansas water resources.

An update to the AWP is needed to determine areas of significant change since 2014 that impact water demands and water quality, and the innovative tools necessary to address to them. A new component of this AWP update will be a structural analysis of flood mitigation infrastructure and programs, and proposed solutions to reduce the impacts of flooding.

How Can You Get Involved?

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division has contracted with an engineering firm to review the 2014 AWP, identify gaps, and recommend additional goals to ensure that the state’s water plan is robust and responsive to the evolving environmental and socio-economic challenges. This review process is crucial as it will help in formulating strategies to bridge the gap between water supply and demand, ensuring that Arkansas water resources are managed efficiently for the long-term benefit of the state.

To ensure the most accurate needs and future projections, the participation of Arkansas residents is crucial. Public meetings are scheduled for early 2024 to discuss water demand projections, flooding issues, and other concerns. These sessions are crucial for incorporating public feedback and ensuring that the AWP reflects the diverse needs of agriculture, industry, recreation, and other sectors. The involvement of Arkansas residents is not only welcomed but also seen as an essential component of the planning process.

Public Meetings for the Arkansas Water Plan Update

The meetings are scheduled for May 6 -10, 2024 from 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. The format for each meeting will consist of a general overview of the current water plan and discussion about potential updates during the morning session and location-specific water supply discussion in the afternoon from 1:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Attendees are welcome to attend all or parts of each meeting but encouraged to arrive 15 minutes early for on-site registration. The meetings will be held in the following locations:

May 6, 2024 – 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m., Fowler Center 201 Olympic Dr., Jonesboro, AR 72401. (Afternoon session topic: Water Infrastructure) 

May 7, 2024 – 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m., Fort Smith Convention Center, 55 S 7th St., Fort Smith, AR 72901 (Afternoon session topic: Drinking Water Supply)

May 8, 2024 – 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m., Donald W. Reynolds Campus & Community Center, 100 E. University St., Magnolia, AR 71753 (Afternoon session topic: Industrial Water Supply and Mineral Extraction)

May 9, 2024 – 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m., Rice Research and Extension Center, 2900 AR-130, Stuttgart, AR 72160 (Afternoon session topic: Agricultural Water Supply)

May 10, 2024 – 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m., Arkansas Cooperative Extension State Office, 2301 S. University, Little Rock, AR 72204 (Afternoon session topic: Environmental Quality and Recreation). Please click here to watch the meeting.

Water Planning in Arkansas

Statewide water planning has a long history in Arkansas. In 1969, the General Assembly delegated the responsibility for state water resource planning to the Arkansas Natural Resource Commission (then known as the Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission). In 1969, ANRC also received statutory authority to begin work on the first Arkansas State Water Plan. The first AWP was published in 1975.

In 1985, the Arkansas General Assembly broadened the ANRC's water planning responsibilities to include conducting an inventory of the State's water resources, determining current needs and future needs of all water uses in the State, and determining whether excess surface water existed that might be put to beneficial use. The General Assembly also directed ANRC to update the original plan, and this update was completed in 1990. In 2014, ANRC completed the next update.

For more information contact:

Ryan Benefield P.E., Deputy Director
Arkansas Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Division
10421 W. Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
Phone (501) 682-3962 Fax (501) 682-3991
Email: ryan.benefield@arkansas.gov