Central Arkansas Water (CAW) and the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock recognize the multitude of benefits that trees and forests provide their urban residents, as well as the role cities and their water utilities play to help conserve, restore, and sustainably manage forests. Specifically, we recognize the important role our nearby forests play in providing safe, reliable, and affordable drinking water to the residents of Central Arkansas. Safe and reliable drinking water sources are critical to human health and well-being and are threatened continually by an ever-changing landscape and climate uncertainty. We feel that being part of Cities4Forests will engage our cities on a global platform to help enhance our mission through shared information and collaboration.
“Healthy forests are critical for potable water supply. They reduce run-off, lessen pollution, provide primary filtration, and reduce evaporation. Ultimately, forests improve raw water quality, thereby reducing filtration and treatment costs. Robust, flourishing forests are a key component of a safe, reliable, affordable water supply ecosystem.”
CEO, Central Arkansas Water
CAW has worked for more than a decade to acquire, protect, and enhance the watersheds and forests of our two drinking water sources. CAW seeks to preserve both the quantity and quality of water that the citizens of Little Rock and North Little Rock enjoy and rely on. Unlike many water utilities, we strive continually to implement creative and scientifically-sound practices to manage our forests in a healthy and sustainable way. Not only do our forests help protect our valuable water resources, but we also recognize them as being a critical piece of the puzzle in the protection of our nation’s and world’s biological diversity through the ecosystem services these forests provide.
The Watershed Protection Program at Central Arkansas Water was created in 2007 with the goals of protecting and enhancing our nearby forested watersheds. Originally, the program was tasked with purchasing 1,500 acres of watershed property to be used for development mitigation. However, in the years since, we have been able to quantify more effectively the importance our forests have in producing a high-quality, reliable, and affordable product. With this in mind, we have set out to buy and manage critical forested properties in our watersheds. To date, we have purchased an additional 4,250 acres through this program, bringing our total acres of land owned up to over 13,150, including an additional 10,140 acres of reservoirs in our two watersheds.