Landowners Block Water Line To Rural Nevada Co.

NEVADA COUNTY, AR — Four years ago the city of Rosston secured a $1.4 million grant from the federal government to build a waterline to provide some in rural Nevada County with a reliable resource.
But the project has hit a road block and the families still struggle with little or no water.

Twice a week Heather Ratcliff and her family 20-mile trip to town and back to fill up and bring water back to a tank on their property

“It’s a constant, difficult process every day of our lives,” Ratcliff said.

The Ratcliff’s have been struggling with the things most folks take for granted ever since their well ran dry about a year ago and another they dug contaminated with groundwater.

“You don’t realize how much you need water or how much you appreciate water until you don’t have it,” Ratcliff said.

The Ratcliff’s are one of about 20 residents in the Laneburg community dealing with the same issue.

“You don’t know if you get up the next day whether you’re going to have water or not,” said another of the Laneburg resident, Jeanette Martin.

Looking for an answer, Rosston mayor Lewis Jackson secured the grant from the USDA to construction a water line.  But the project has hit a roadblock.

“There’re just a very few that are not signing, and we’re doing our best to get them to sign,” Jackson said.

Mayor Jackson says about a dozen out-of-state land owners are refusing to allow the water line to cross their property.

“I don’t understand why anybody would withhold all these families from having water just to be stubborn,” Ratcliff said.

Plans to route the line around those landowners were recently turned down leaving Jackson taking eminent domain proceedings to force the line through.

But that could mean an extra year of waiting for residents.

“Here we are sitting in 2014 with no water for our community,” Ratcliff said.

Mayor Jackson says there is a plan in place to pay off timber companies that own property needed for the line.
He said there is not a plan to compensate other landowners, but the mayor points out they would see an increase in their property value if the line goes through.

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