Critical Groundwater Areas
A "critical groundwater area" is an area determined by the Commission to have significant groundwater depletion or degradation. Designating an area indicates that the Commission may later determine that limiting groundwater withdrawals by users within the critical groundwater area may become necessary to maximize the area's remaining groundwater resources. Designation also enhances awareness of the groundwater problems within the area and makes it easier to obtain local, state, and federal funds to resolve the area's groundwater problems. The Commission has designated three areas to date. Although the Commission has the authority to initiate regulation in critical groundwater areas by following a process similar to that required for designation of an area, the Commission has never taken steps to regulate these areas.
Monroe County now included within the Cache Critical Groundwater Area.
On May 15, 2019, the Commisison designated Monroe County as part of the Cache Critical Groundwater Area. This consideration is based upon scientific investigation of reported ground water problems within the area and a petition requesting designation from the Monroe County Conservation District with the written support of the Monroe County Judge, the Monroe County Farm Bureau, and the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Services. This designation does not include institution of regulatory authority. Designation enhances awareness of groundwater conservation best management practices and makes more financial dollars available to resolve groundwater problems. It enables persons who implement certain conservation practices within Monroe County to claim a 50% tax credit for surface water conversion rather than a 10% tax credit.