Beaver Lake Raw Water Quality
Lake water quality is largely determined by the quality of water in the tributaries. Beaver Water District monitors nine tributary sites on a monthly basis. A water quality index (WQI) is a simple and concise method for expressing ambient water quality information and a useful tool for describing the state of the water column, sediments and aquatic life and for ranking the suitability of water for use by humans, aquatic life, wildlife, etc. The District uses a modified version of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment WQI to evaluate tributary condition. The District’s WQI is based on the Arkansas Department of Enviromental Quality’s Assessment Criteria for the White River. The WQI produces a single value between 0 and 100 with increasing values indicating better water quality similar to getting a grade. Values of 95 to 100 are excellent, 80-84 good, 65-79 fair, 45-64 marginal, and 0-44 poor. In 2016, the average WQI values from the tributary sites were fair to good and ranged from 92.6 at White River at Elkins, Ark., to 69.3 at White River near Wyman, Ark.
The Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act (CWA), authorized in 1972, is the cornerstone of surface water quality protection in the United States. The statute employs a variety of regulatory and non-regulatory tools to sharply reduce direct pollutant discharges into waterways, finance municipal waste water treatment facilities, and manage polluted runoff. These tools are employed to achieve the broader goal of restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters so that they can support “the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and recreation in and on the water.” Evolution of CWA programs has included a shift from a program-by-program, source-by-source, pollutant-by-pollutant approach to more holistic watershed based strategies. Under the watershed approach equal emphasis is placed on protecting healthy waters and restoring impaired ones. Involvement of stakeholder groups in the development and implementation of strategies for achieving and maintaining state water quality and other environmental goals is another hallmark of this approach.
NOTE: Lake water quality is largely determined by the quality of water in the tributaries. Beaver Water District monitors nine tributary sites on a monthly basis and produces an annual report entitled Beaver Lake & its Tributaries: 2016 Source Water Quality Report.