Efficiently and responsibly managing and protecting our water and land resources for the sustainability, health, safety, and economic benefit of the State of Arkansas
Water Plan Compliance
The Arkansas Water Plan (the Plan) is the state's policy for long-term water management. The Plan is a dynamic framework updated to meet our state's changing needs bringing data, science, and public input together to define water demands, water supplies, issues, and potential solutions to meet our future needs.
The Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division (NRD) is responsible for preparing and overseeing the Plan, and water planning at the state level. Water Plan Compliance Certification provides a way for retail water providers to obtain the necessary compliance certification to meet the Arkansas Water Plan requirements.
Water Plan Compliance ensures Arkansans have access to reliable sources of water for the future through responsible water and wastewater project development. While working to maintain the state’s water resources, providers must consider the most efficient economic factors and the feasibility of a project to keep prices affordable and the systems safe for the public. Additionally, Water Plan Compliance ensures water and wastewater utilities can meet the projected demands of their new projects, while not disrupting the service boundaries of nearby utility systems.
Unless exempt, all water and wastewater projects must follow the Plan, regardless of funding.
Factors considered in compliance determination
When determining whether a water or wastewater development project should be approved for compliance, the Executive Director considers the following factors:
- Purpose of the project
- Existing conditions
- Benefits expected from the project
- General nature of the project
- Geographic area to be served by the project
- Necessity of project
- Feasibility of project
- Estimated cost and affordability
- Degree to which the project coordinates regional water resources
To begin the process a Water Plan Compliance Exemption Request form [hyperlinked] must be filled out and submitted to the Water Plan Compliance Coordinator (listed below). The Exemption Request form will determine whether the water or wastewater development project meets the exemption status set out in Title VI [hyperlinked]. Projects not meeting exemption status will require review from the Commission staff. The types of projects requiring review are:
- Projects that involve the development of new water supply source.
- Projects that utilize a new or different place of withdrawal.
- Projects that increase water treatment plant capacity.
- Projects involving system expansion that would result in an aggregate increase of existing and additional water demand being greater than 80 percent of existing water treatment capacity.
- Projects involving an expansion that would result in an increase of more than 20 percent of the current average water use.
- Projects involving flood control or drainage.
- Projects that would serve areas that are being served by other entities or projects that would serve areas on which other projects have, or have applied for, water plan certification.
- Master Plans providing the information requested in section 602.
For projects not meeting exemption status, an application [hyperlinked] will be distributed to the applicant. The application requires a Preliminary Engineering Report be attached after completion. Once the NRD staff reviews the project and makes recommendations for approval, then a Request for Fee letter will be distributed. The applicant will have 90 days to pay the $200 application fee.
Once the required information and the fee are received NRD will review the project proposal and determine the accuracy of the application data. a hearing for public comment will be scheduled with a publication being advertised in a newspaper that is distributed in the project location’s county at least 10 days prior. The applicant must reach out to all water and wastewater companies in a 5-mile radius informing them of the public hearing details along with a copy of the Preliminary Engineering Report. A public hearing will be conducted to receive additional information or comment from the public concerning the proposed project, followed directly by a 14-day comment period.
If the project is approved, the applicant will receive a Final Determination Letter stating the project complies with the Arkansas State Water Plan, along with any modifications needed for it to meet compliance standards.
Downloadable forms and documents are below:
For more information contact:
Josh Burns, EI, Water Planning Engineer
Arkansas Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Division
10421 W. Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205