Adopted in 2021, Arkansas’ Act 605 creates additional responsibilities for most Arkansas retail water providers, both public and privately owned, in managing and operating their water systems. Like many other states, Arkansas has hundreds of communities where deferred maintenance has gone on so long, those communities are now in a crisis and can’t fix their infrastructure.
Act 605 is a bold and forward-looking law that aims to fix this problem and increase the sustainability of water systems across the state. It is a noteworthy and model law that requires training for all members of a governing body with oversight of the utility, mandates rate studies, and requires implementation of full-cost pricing to cover the capital and operation and maintenance costs for water services. The development, passage, and ongoing execution of Act 605 in Arkansas can provide a roadmap to other states looking to address local water system challenges through state policy.