riparian rap

Lawsuit over Memphis pumping of the Sparta Aquaifer.

Via Michael Campana’s WaterWired, news of a billion dollar lawsuit by the State of Mississippi against the City of Memphis over pumping of the vast Sparta Aquifer.

This problem has been brewing for a long time. The aquifer is being mined for water, and drawdowns over the past century have caused depressions of nearly 100 feet in some areas. Growing up in southern Arkansas, I drank this water (its quality is excellent) for many years. A big problem is use for irrigation, something I’ve talked about here before. Note on the aerial here you can see much of the Grand Prairie in Eastern Arkansas has been greatly modified to get rid of surface water even as they pump (note circles from center pivot units) from the aquifer for irrigation of rice, soybeans, and cotton.

The USGS has group of studies going, USGS Mississippi Embayment Regional Aquifer Study (MERAS), index here. The illustration comes one of these publications from McKee and Clark, PDF here.