LOWELL, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Beaver Lake supplies water for over 500,000 Arkansans, but with Northwest Arkansas’ growing population, Beaver Water District is taking the proper measures to make sure clean drinking water is available.
Some population estimates have Northwest Arkansas’ population growing to over 1 million people within the next decade.
“I’ve been in the utility business over 30 years, and I think most utilities would think if they’re growing at 2, 3 or 4% per year that’s good growth, and it is,” Kevan Inboden, chief operations officer of Beaver Water District, said. “To be able to respond to this type of growth that we’re seeing, it’s a daily thing that we’re looking at growth projections. We’re looking at plant expansions. We’re looking at financial impacts to the customers.”
Of the water in Beaver Lake, 79% is allocated for hydroelectricity while the remaining 21% makes up the drinking water of Beaver Water District’s customers. Inboden said studies and analyses will determine whether or not a higher allocation of drinking water is needed in the future.
The surface water treatment plant sells to Fayetteville, Bentonville, Rogers and Springdale for $1.54 for every 1,000 gallons of water. Those four main cities then supply water to its smaller neighboring communities.
Inboden says barring a drastic climate change that brings a severe, unforeseen drought, there will be no worries about the supply of drinking water to Northwest Arkansas residents for the foreseeable future.
“Based on the information we have, based on the weather patterns that we’ve experienced for decades, the short answer is that we should be able to supply the drinking water needs for Northwest Arkansas for a long, long time,” Inboden said.
Beaver Water District plans to expand its facilities with a new $500 million water treatment plant over the next 5-6 years.