|Abstract:||During the spring of 2006, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Arkansas Natural Resource Commission and the Arkansas Geological Survey, measured water levels in 707 wells completed in the Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer in eastern Arkansas. Ground-water levels are affected by ground-water withdrawals resulting in depressions. In 2006, the lowest water-level altitude was 76 feet above the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 in the center of Arkansas County. The highest water-level altitude was 289 feet above the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 in northeastern Clay County on the west side of Crowleys Ridge. Two large depressions in the potentiometric surface are located in Arkansas, Lonoke, and Prairie Counties and west of Crowleys Ridge in Craighead, Cross, Lee, Monroe, Poinsett, St. Francis, and Woodruff Counties.
The elongated depression in Arkansas, Lonoke, and Prairie Counties has changed in areal extent or depth when compared to previous conditions of the aquifer. The area in Arkansas County at the southeastern half of the depression has not expanded horizontally during recent years, although the center of the depression has deepened. The area in Lonoke and Prairie Counties in the northwestern half of the depression has expanded horizontally in the deeper part of the depression. The 90-foot contour has expanded north and east in Lonoke County when compared with the 2004 potentiometric surface. Along the west side of Crowleys Ridge the 2006 potentiometric-surface map shows very little change in the area of this depression, although the deeper areas within the depression have expanded.
A map showing the difference in water level was constructed using 645 differences in water-levels measured in 633 wells during 2002 and 2006. The difference in measured water levels from 2002 to 2006 ranged from -24.0 feet to 25.0 feet, with a mean of -2.0 feet. The largest decline of -24.0 feet occurred in Poinsett County and the largest rise of 25.0 feet occurred in Randolph County. Out of the 645 differences, 481 were declines (74.6 percent), 12 were no difference (values of 0.0 ft) (1.8 percent), and 152 were rises (23.6 percent).
Long-term water-level trends were evaluated using hydrographs from 152 wells completed in the Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer for the period 1982 to 2006. The mean annual rise or decline in water level for the entire study area was -0.32 feet per year with a range of -1.28 to 0.77 feet per year. Independence and White Counties are the only counties with a mean annual rise from 1982 to 2006. Mean annual declines between -0.50 feet per year and 0.00 feet per year occurred in Arkansas, Ashley, Chicot, Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Drew, Jefferson, Lee, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett, Prairie, Pulaski, Randolph, and Woodruff Counties. Mean annual declines between -1.00 feet per year and -0.50 feet per year occurred in Cross, Desha, Greene, Jackson, Lincoln, Lonoke, and St. Francis Counties.
The analysis of long-term water-level changes in Arkansas, Lonoke, and Prairie Counties shows the elongation of the depression in these three counties. Both Arkansas and Prairie Counties have two different rates of annual decline for the two hydrographs shown for each county. Water levels in the two wells near the Arkansas and White Rivers either have risen or declined at a slower rate than in the three wells in the center, northern, and western part of the depression. These rates of water-level change indicate that this depression is expanding in an elongated direction north and west into Lonoke and Prairie Counties. The depression west of Crowleys Ridge has five wells with hydrographs in or near the depression that can be used to characterize the rates of water-level change within the depression.
Water samples were collected from 65 wells completed in the Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer and measured onsite for specific conductance and tempera