Conserving Drinking Water in Union and Lincoln Parishes

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Union and Lincoln Parishes are working toward securing funding for a $100 million project to conserve the Sparta Aquifer, which provides drinking water for northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas. An aquifer is a body of permeable rock that can contain or transmit groundwater.

Over the past 50 years the Sparta Aquifer has been declining beneath the major pumping centers located in El Dorado and Magnolia, Arkansas and Hodge and Monroe, Louisiana as the rate of discharge exceeds the aquifer’s natural recharge rate.

In an effort to conserve the Sparta Aquifer, the Union-Lincoln Regional Water Supply Initiative (ULRWSI) is proposing a water treatment facility to reclaim water from Lake D’Arbonne and provide fresh water to Farmerville and Ruston, thus reducing the draw down on the Sparta.

ULRWSI is currently negotiating the purchase of 21.5 acres of land for a water treatment plant. ULRWSI’s mission is to eventually build a pipeline from Farmerville to Ruston and use treated water from Lake D’Arbonne as an alternative to the Sparta. The initiative will supply potable water to Farmerville and Ruston.

This massive project stands to benefit not only the potential water users in Ruston and Farmerville but everyone in North Louisiana who uses the Sparta. Hundreds of thousands of residents across northern Louisiana depend on the stressed aquifer for their water supply.

Currently, Lake D’Arbonne is not used as a potable water supply. Studies have shown that the water usage from the lake will have minimal impact on lake levels. Data from the last 10 years indicates water flows over the spillway on average nine months a year. Instead of losing this water, it can be converted to potable water for consumption thus protecting and conserving the Sparta Aquifer for future generations.

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