Looking to the Future of Hot Springs' Water

Looking to the Future of Hot Springs' Water

(Editor's Note: Each year, Arkansas Business partners with the Arkansas Municipal League to present the Trendsetter City awards, which recognize exceptional initiatives underway in municipalities across the state. Large, medium and small-sized cities were honored in six categories: Diversity and Inclusion; Education/Workforce Development; Infrastructure and Water; Public Works/Environmental and Green Management; Technology and Security; and Tourism Development/Creative Culture. Below is one winner's story. For more, click here.) 

Infrastructure and Water
Winner • 20,000 or Greater

Population: 38,114
Mayor: Pat McCabe
County: Garland
Region: Southwest

A Real Treat

The new water treatment plant to be located on Randall Road will occupy 33 acres and contain two 4 million-gallon backwash lagoons and a 3 million-gallon clear well.

The Challenge

With a history tied to water, Hot Springs embarked on a quest to increase allocations for its regional water system in order to solidify the natural resource for generations. The city had long used Lake Hamilton and its reservoir at Lake Ricks but began pursuing additional sources as early as 2002. With the city’s water usage beginning to exceed 80% of its production capacity by 2010, Hot Springs’ hunt for water became a higher priority project.

The microtunneling machine used in the Ouachita Water Supply Project was custom-made in Germany and named “Miss Elaine” in honor of District 2 Director and community leader Elaine Jones. City Manager Bill Burrough signed the machine “13 years” at its launching and dedication in acknowledgement of the project completion date.

The Solution

After a dozen years and many challenges, Hot Springs celebrated in August the launching of a tunneling machine that will bore a half-mile through Blakely Mountain to lay a 56-inch raw water line. It is the longest mining project with that size direct pipe in North American history. The line will provide up to 23 million gallons of water a day as part of the Lake Ouachita Water Supply Project, Hot Springs’ biggest infrastructure project.

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