Tackling Water Quality, Scarcity, Conservation Challenges and Navigation Expansion

The Red River Valley in Arkansas faces various water resource challenges, including issues with water quality due to agricultural runoff, sedimentation, and pollution from industry and urban areas. Additionally, droughts and water scarcity can impact the region’s water availability for agricultural and municipal purposes. Efforts to manage and conserve water resources, improve irrigation techniques, and implement sustainable agricultural practices are essential to address these challenges and ensure a more secure water future for the area.

Additionally, The Southwest Arkansas Navigation Study to extend navigation from the Caddo-Bossier Port in Shreveport, Louisiana, to Southwest Arkansas is progressing under a Section 203 study. The Arkansas Red River Commission (AARC), as an agency under the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, is the local sponsor for the authorized study. The latest effort has resulted in a benefit-cost ratio of 1.8 for three locks and dams to Fulton, Arkansas, where I-30 crosses the Red River. The estimate to complete the study is $3 million and will be completed in three years. Freeze and Nichols (TX), GEC (LA), and Garver (AR) have been selected, with funding approved for the U.S. Corps of Engineers for technical assistance to meet all federal regulations and study procedures. Arkansas legislators and the Governor have allocated $1.5 million with Louisiana partners who have also contributed an additional $1.5 million to this study. The final documents will be signed in the first quarter of 2024, marking the beginning of the study.