The population of Northwest Arkansas has grown significantly during the past 50 years. For example, in 1960 there were fewer than 100,000 people living in Washington and Benton counties. Today, the combined population of the two counties is approaching half a million people! (Of the nearly 500,000 people in Washington and Benton Counties, about 360,000 get their water from Beaver Lake.) To put it another way, overall in a five-county area (Washington, Benton, Madison, Carroll and Boone), about 420,000 people get their drinking water from drinking water utilities who take water from Beaver Lake — that’s 1 in 7 Arkansans. (To put it another way, That’s about 14% of Arkansans if you base the math on the 2012 U.S. population census for Arkansas which is 2,949,131.) Did you know that Beaver Lake is the top lake serving the most people with drinking water in the state of Arkansas? Much of the growth in Northwest Arkansas has occurred within the boundaries of Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville. In 1973, the average demand for water from the four cities was about 15 million gallons per day (mgd). Today, demand is more than 45 mgd. Beaver Water District serves about 320,000 people in the four customer cities and the surrounding areas. That’s one in 10 Arkansans! As of Oct. 1, 2012, Beaver Water District’s wholesale rate is $1.26 per thousand gallons ready to drink. The three other water suppliers on Beaver Lake and their wholesale rates follow: Benton/Washington Regional Public Water Authority (a.k.a. Two-Ton) charges $2.15 per thousand; Carroll-Boone Water District charges $1.25 per thousand; and Madison County Regional Water District charges $1.34 per thousand gallons.