State Approves $26M Loan for White River Irrigation District

State Approves $26M Loan for White River Irrigation District

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture on Thursday approved a loan of more than $26 million for the White River Regional Irrigation District in Prairie County, money that will help complete the district's primary canal system.

The canal system will help provide agricultural water supply to 40,000 acres, the department said in a news release. The money comes from the state's Water, Waste Disposal and Pollution Abatement Facilities General Obligation Bond Fund.

The canal system is part of a decades-long project to address declining groundwater resources in Prairie, Arkansas, Lonoke and Monroe counties. It preserves aquifers by providing supplemental irrigation water to approximately 240,000 acres of cropland.

Waterfowl also benefit from the project. Seasonal flooding of cropland provides fall and winter feeding and nesting areas. 

Arkansas ranks fourth in the nation in irrigated acres thanks to project, according to the White River Regional Irrigation District. 

Groundwork for a new addition to the canal system, a two-mile section near DeValls Bluff, was completed earlier this month, the Stuttgart Daily Leader reported.

The Agriculture Department also announced funds for three other water and wastewater projects. 

The Tucker Lake Levee and Drainage District in Jefferson County received a $106,783 loan from the Water Development Fund to replace two hydraulic flood gates. The flood gates will protect more than 4,000 acres of commercial, residential and agricultural property.

The town of Jennette in Crittenden County received a $103,000 loan and a $100,000 grant from the Water, Sewer and Solid Waste Fund to make improvements to the wastewater system pump station. The project currently serves 46 customers.

The City of Louann in Ouachita County received $70,040 in additional funding from the Water, Sewer and Solid Waste Fund for construction cost increases associated with an existing water well replacement project. The project currently serves 82 customers.

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