Arkansas’ Conservation Hall of Fame will honor an El Dorado man Tuesday evening for his long commitment to recharging the Sparta Aquifer, the sole source of drinking water for a number of municipalities in South Arkansas and North Louisiana.
Ken Rudder has served on the Union County Conservation District Board since 1989. He will become the 20th inductee into the Little Rock-based Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts Hall of Fame, according to its program director Debbie Moreland. She said Rudder, who is plant operations manager at Lion Oil, took a leading role in getting heavy industry to draw water from the Ouachita River rather than further deplete the Sparta Aquifer.
“If you would have asked anyone down there [in El Dorado] they would say that’s one of the reasons why the community is healthy and growing is because the Sparta Aquifer now, for the first time, is actually recharging and not declining. It’s actually better than it was 10 years ago," Moreland said.
Data gathered this year by the U.S. Geological Survey in Arkansas found that groundwater levels continue to rise in most of its monitoring wells. Over its years of monitoring the Sparta Aquifer, water levels have risen in all eight of its monitoring wells from about 10 feet in 2004 to almost 70 feet this year. The largest rises are occurring near the center of the cone of depression in El Dorado.