Our drinking water’s journey starts at the utility’s source water reservoirs, Lakes Maumelle and Winona, both nestled in the Ouachita Mountains west of Little Rock. CAW’s commitment to water quality starts on these forest landscapes and is managed by our Watershed Protection Program (Program). This Program was created following recommendations from the 2007 Lake Maumelle Watershed Management Plan (Plan; Tetra Tech 2007). The Plan provides guidance on how to implement measures throughout the watershed’s 88,000 acres to protect the 8,900-acre Lake Maumelle, which supplies two-thirds of the utility’s daily water demand. The Plan proposes a series of strategies, such as managing the impacts of new development, promoting household best management practices, and maintaining good land management practices, including using prescribed fire and ecological timber thinning as management tools for improving forest health.
For the areas around Lakes Maumelle and Winona, CAW sets forest management goals to improve the health of the watersheds and maintain the quality of drinking water in central Arkansas. When forests are healthy, watersheds are healthy, and each of these watersheds boasts more than 90% forest cover—a figure that drives much of the Program’s activities.
To read more about CAW’s active forest management strategies, click here.
How does Prescribed Fire benefit our forests and our water? Click here to find out.
Commitment to Sustainable Forestry
Central Arkansas Water (CAW) is committed to continually achieving independent certification to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc.® Forest Management Standard. CAW is committed to promoting and achieving the principles of sustainable forest management, including: practicing sustainable forestry, employing responsible practices, regenerating the forest and maintaining productive capacity, protecting and maintaining long-term forest and soil productivity, protecting water resources, protecting special sites and biological diversity, complying with legal requirements, continually improving forest practices and recognizing and respecting Indigenous Peoples’ rights. To help achieve independent certification this manual has been developed and adopted to complement the guidance provided by relevant CAW Management Plans. Staff involved in the management of CAW property are versed in the Management Plans and understand the requirements of the Standard.
Commitment to Indigenous People’s Rights
As with much of the United States, what we now know as Arkansas was inhabited by Native Americans. Central Arkansas Water’s two watersheds (Lake Maumelle and Lake Winona) are a part of land that was inhabited by the Osage and Quapaw. While there are no federally recognized existing tribal territories in the areas that CAW owns and manages land, CAW recognizes the indigenous people who inhabited the land and respects the land they once called home. CAW recognizes the established framework of legal, customary, and traditional rights held by Indigenous Peoples. Moreover, we support the rights of indigenous people and are willing to work with them should the opportunity arise. As a part of our commitment to respect the land, the majority of our forests are certified under the SFI Forest Management Standard. This certification provides CAW with a 3rd party verification that our fiber forest resources are being managed in a sustainable manner.