Funds became available July 1 to land owners in Jefferson County to purchase water meters on wells and surface water pumping facilities.

Approval for funding is on a first come, first served basis and limited to available funding, said Henry English, director of the Small Farm Program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and member of the Jefferson County District Conservation Board.

Water meters increase awareness of water usage and improve management and conservation of water resources, he said in news release. Water meters help land owners and growers establish a history of water usage.

“Should water usage become limited, allocation of water resources will depend upon history of usage,” English said. “If there is no history, no water will be allocated for that well.”

Land owners/producers will be reimbursed the approximate cost of meters. The meter purchased should be a McCrometer model M0300 or Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) approved equivalent. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended installation directions, according to the release.

“The entrance pipe connecting the meter must be horizontal for the same number of feet as the inch diameter of the meter. For example, an 8 inch diameter meter requires an 8 inch horizontal entrance pipe for a minimum length of 8 feet,” according to the release.

A McCrometer or ANRC approved flow straightener, installed to factory specifications, may be substituted for the horizontal pipe requirement.

In exchange for reimbursement, the landowner must provide an end-of-season meter reading to the local conservation district office, allow ANRC or designated personnel access to the meter for inspection, and be up to date on annual water use reporting. Reimbursement cannot be combined with the ANRC tax credit program, according to the release.

All water users are required to register their wells and relifts each year. Producers should go to their county conservation district office to do so. Also, well registration is being handled via email.

In Jefferson County, the county conservation district office is located in room 2114 of the George Howard Jr. Federal Building, 100 E. Eighth Ave., Pine Bluff. Applications should be completed while at the district office. See Kathryn Owen in room 2114 for an application.

— Carol Sanders is a writer/editor at the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences.