January 12, 2006--Posted at 5:30 p.m. CDT
"Water is certainly the main driver in society whether it be drinking or whatever," said Mike Callaway of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Today leaders from across the region came together at ASU for the Arkansas Soil and Water Conference. They took a look at how drought like conditions here in region 8 are taking a toll on the area.
"This has been the 2nd driest year in the last 110 years so it is affecting everyone in the state," said Todd Fugitt of the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission.
This year's drought did have a minor effect on the area's water table but the real cause for concern is the area agricultural industry's dependence on the water table.
"What is a real concern to the Natural Resources Commission is the overall long term trend which we see water levels decline year after year because we are using that water," said Fugitt.
As levels slowly decline in the water table year after year the number of water related problems we can anticipate seeing in the region will increase.
"We're getting western problems in this eastern state," said ASU Professor and event coordinator Dr. Tina Gray Teague.
With a thriving rice industry dependent on water and a growing population across the state, securing a healthy water supply is becoming that much more important.
A balance that leaders from across the state hope to find with more events like the Arkansas Soil and Water Conference.
"Education is probably the key to figuring it out," said Callaway.