Northwest Arkansas reisidents celebrated the region's impressive population growth in the spring, but none of that would have been possible without the area’s most important resource.
Beaver Lake, completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1966, provides drinking water to one of every seven Arkansans, and it’s played a huge role in the region, making it possible for the area to support a population that’s now more than 500,000 residents in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area (Northwest Arkansas).
A new State of the Lake Report, which was published this summer by the Beaver Water District, shows the drinking water supplied to the area represents just 11 percent of the 212.5 billion gallons consumed last year at Beaver Lake.
The vast majority of the lake’s usage (about 72 percent of water consumed last year) was for power generation at Beaver Dam
What’s the second biggest user of water? It’s evaporation (13 percent), and there’s an unaccounted for portion of water as well (4 percent).
The full report provides lots of good information about Beaver Lake.
Most people living in Northwest Arkansas MSA receive their water from the Beaver Water District or one of the other three public utilities that provide water treatment.
The four utilities have a combined 400,000 customers. Some of those customers live outside the metropolitan statistical area, though, in communities such as Eureka Springs, Green Forest, Harrison and Westville, Okla.
“Beaver Lake has sufficient storage in it for all of Northwest Arkansas for the foreseeable future,” said Alan D. Fortenberry, the CEO of Beaver Water District, the largest of the four water utilities. “It is critical to preserve the water quality of the lake for the health and wellbeing of the citizens of Northwest Arkansas.”
The lake’s economic importance to the region would include the thousands of tourists who visit the lake each year. They’ll eat at local restaurants and stay in Northwest Arkansas hotels. While the lake is not in the Rogers city limits, many tourists drive through the city’s downtown as it’s one of the most direct routes to the lake.
“Beaver Lake is one of our best attractions in Rogers,” said Allyson Twiggs Dyer, executive director of Visit Rogers, which promotes tourism in the city and the region. “It’s a great lake for boating, fishing and swimming which makes it ideal for visitors to our city. Visitors can rent boats, fish from docks or picnic and camp at Beaver Lake; it really has everything an outdoor enthusiast is looking for in a recreational lake. Beaver Lake is also a stop on the FLW Tour and the lake hosts many local bass tournaments that bring people to the area. We are so fortunate to have Beaver Lake in Northwest Arkansas.”