Prior to 2004, the Sparta aquifer supplied all water for industrial and municipal uses in Union County, Arkansas, and continues to provide the majority of water for industrial and municipal purposes in the surrounding southern Arkansas counties and northern Louisiana parishes. In Union County, the Sparta aquifer has been used increasingly since development began in the early 1920s, resulting in water-level declines of more than 360 feet (ft) near El Dorado, Arkansas. In addition, water quality in some areas of the Sparta aquifer has degraded with increased withdrawals.
In 2002 a study began that measures, through monitoring and reporting of water levels in Sparta aquifer wells throughout the study area in southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana, the impact of conservation and alternative water efforts on water level and water quality. This study provides continuous real-time water-level data at eight USGS wells that are part of a network of 29 monitoring wells and periodically reports results of semi-annual water-quality sampling. Water levels have risen in all eight real-time wells since monitoring began in the summer of 2003, and the Ouachita River Alternative Water Supply Project was completed in September 2004. The largest water-level rises occurred between October 2004 and April 2007 in the Monsanto well (49.0 ft rise) just north of El Dorado, and the Welcome Center well (36.1 ft rise) southeast of El Dorado. Twelve wells were sampled semi-annually for specific conductance and chloride concentration. Average specific conductance from individual wells ranges from 216 in the northwest to 1,157 uS/cm in the southeast and average chloride concentration ranges from 3.2 to 214 mg/L.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Monitoring of Sparta Aquifer Recovery in Southern Arkansas and Northern Louisiana, 2003-07