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OUACHITA RIVER PUBLIC MEETING: Proposed Lock & Dam Operations Reductions

Posted on April 3, 2012

The Corps of Engineers will hold a public meeting in El Dorado at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10, at the Municipal Auditorium to hear from constituents about the Vicksburg District’s plans to reduce the operations of all four locks from full service (24/7/365) to two shifts daily in July 2012, and in 2013 could further reduce the services at the two Arkansas locks to weekend and holiday operations only.   

The pool above Thatcher Lock & Dam provides the alternative surface water source that has enabled the Sparta Aquifer to begin recovering. The Sparta is our only source of drinking water.   

Although the proposed lock operations schedule doesn’t immediately affect the pool above Thatcher, the Union County Water Conservation Board considers any reduction in maintenance of the Ouachita River as a potential threat to Union County’s only viable alternative water source.

Union County residents and businesses built and paid for 88% of the $65 million infrastructure. Many more millions of dollars have been invested by local industries — El Dorado Chemical, Great Lakes/Chemtura Central Plant, and Lion Oil Refinery — expanding their facilities and providing hundreds jobs with full faith that there would be a long-term industrial water supply from the Ouachita River, and the $1.1 billion Union Power Partners electrical generating plant is wholly dependent on the Ouachita River for water.  

Please plan to attend and speak up for Union County’s economic future.