Sparta Commission Application for Designation of Critical Groundwater Area
In 2002, the Sparta Commission, following required procedures of the time, submitted to the state Groundwater Management Commission an application for designation of an area within the Sparta region a ‘critical groundwater area’. (20) [Legislative Act 225 of 2005 renamed such areas ‘areas of groundwater concern’.]
State Requirements for Designation of a Critical Groundwater Area (later Area of Groundwater Concern)
An applicant for a ‘critical groundwater area’ designation was required to state facts and supporting evidence substantiating that at least one of three criteria applied to the aquifer would, currently or in the immediate future, render the aquifer unsuitable for groundwater demands without some action taken. Criteria were: 1) water level declines, 2) salt water intrusion, 3) overall withdrawals that have exceeded the aquifer’s recharge.
The Sparta Commission contracted Meyer, Meyer, LeCroix, and Hixson, Inc. to conduct the Sparta Groundwater Study to identify areas that met the specified conditions. The Sparta Commission specified three conditions that satisfied Louisiana's 'critical groundwater area' criteria of the time and, for the advantages of bi-state cooperation, also satisfied 'critical groundwater area' criteria established by Arkansas law, Endnote 7 namely:
Figure 24 is a Sparta Groundwater Study (2) map of 2001 showing the area where the drawdown had exceeded one-foot per year over 20 years, and, overlapping in places, the area where the water surface had dropped below the top of the Sparta aquifer. Authors noted that further study was required to better define salt water intrusion areas. (2)