The White River carries water from streams of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. A variety of uses are seen on the White River including recreation, municipal and industrial water supply, fish and wildlife as well as power generation. Headwaters originating from the Ozark plateau province of the White River are renown for their aesthetic value as well as recreational desirability. Clear, cool water flowing form the karst topography of the Ozark mountains form streams popular for tourists and recreationists from throughout the midwestern United States and beyond, creating a major economic benefit to the region. Abundant streamflow and deep, narrow valleys create ideal settings for hydroelectric power generation from dams of the major reservoirs. As a result of the large reservoirs in the region, lake recreation has also become popular and a major contributor to economic growth.
Headwaters in the alluvial valley section of the Gulf Coastal Plain province in southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas also carry abundant flow to the White River. Agricultural irrigation is a major use of those waters along with fish and wildlife as well as riverine and backwater recreation.
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