There is a new federal grant to help prevent water pollution in the state of Arkansas.
The $3.2 million grant from the EPA will go to the state Department of Agriculture to lower pollution from runoff in waterways.
The grant is aimed at non-point source water pollution runoff that comes from farms, and will go towards preventing excess pollution from leaching into rivers and streams.
According to The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, in east Arkansas, preserving water quality and quantity has become crucial since many aquifers in the area have been depleted. Much of east and south Arkansas have been deemed critical groundwater areas by the state Department of Agriculture.
Even more, in east Arkansas, nitrogen from fertilizers can run off into waterways, particularly the Mississippi River.
The Agriculture Department will use the grant money to do the following: update unpaved roads to prevent runoff, to expand its program to collect unused pesticides from farmers, and to direct more funds to the University of Arkansas' Discovery Farms Program. This program provides water quality analysis on a dozen farms.
According to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, a critical groundwater area is an area determined by the commission to have significant groundwater depletion or degradation.
Currently, Arkansas has its own Arkansas Water Plan, which is the state's policy for long-term water management.
“The AWP includes all previous updates to the Plan and is a dynamic framework updated to meet our state's changing needs,” said the Arkansas Department of Agriculture website. “The AWP brings data, science, and public input together to define water demands, water supplies, issues and potential solutions to meet our future needs. The Arkansas General Assembly uses recommendations from each update to determine how to oversee our water resources.”