State needs better water management, report says

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A new report from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce says the state must do a better job managing its water supplies to make sure businesses and residents have ample availability in the decades ahead.

Released on Friday, the report outlines how different regions in the state face different challenges in terms of water scarcity. Even those with plentiful water at the moment are eventually due for a heavy increase in demand.

"What this study does is set the stage for creation of a long-needed, long-range water plan for the state," said Vince Griffin, Indiana Chamber vice president of energy and environmental policy. "While a creditable plan may take three to five years, legislators—from the Senate and House, as well as both parties—understand the importance of this issue and are prepared to lead on the next steps."

The study was lead by Jeff Wittman, a geosciencist who lives in Indiana but works for the Texas-based company INTERA Incorporated.

The study found that Northern Indiana has a large amount of water available but is seeing an increase in usage for things like irrigation. Southern Indiana may not be able to meet the future demands of local communities and struggles with large distances between water sources, including reservoirs.

The central part of the state has diverse water supplies and utilities are making plans for the future, but population growth projections show that as much as an additional 50 million gallons per day will be needed by 2050.

The chamber made it clear that the study is not a plan of action. Instead, it’s meant to be a study of the current conditions of Indiana's water. Chamber officials hope legislators will look at the study for consideration of what to do—and how much funding it might take to do it.

A separate study done by the University of Michigan found Indiana to be first in the nation in the percentage of its economy that depends on water. Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar also noted that Indiana leads the nation for manufacturing, which uses significant amounts of water.


  • Kudos to Griffin
    Griffin and the Chamber have done a great service to IN to highlite the need for water appreciation and planning. This is not the Chambers first effort to raise the importance of this issue and 'tis to be hoped it will bear fruit. The Legislature is the appropriate venue for decision making but, thankfully, the IURC and the DNR are conversant with the issue and a source of valuable, even-handed information as are the water providers in IN, both municipal and investor owned. One only has to see the bathtub ring on the shores of Lakes Mead and Powell in the West to grasp how soon IN could be at the same risk without early attention to this problem.
  • Blackburn
    Let me guess...your john blackburn. lmao your everywhere man...good luck
  • $400 Million Mounds Lake Boondoogle has Gov Pence Support
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last faulted Mounds Lake reservoir planners for not considering alternatives to damming the White River. Cheaper & Better to expand existing reservoirs like Geist, Morse, or Eagle Creek? Certainly serious consideration should be given to flooding Anderson's abandoned environmental wastelands left by General Motors. Who would drink that toxic mess?
    • Water/sewer rates don't encourage conservation
      If Citizens Energy had any concern about needing to conserve water, they'd charge users higher rates for greater consumption and lower rates for low consumption. Instead, they charge about $50/month minimum even if you use almost zero water.
    • You can't use Lake Michigan to solve this.
      The Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, a legal agreement/treaty between the US states and Canadian provinces that border the great lakes prohibits non-approved diversions of water outside of the great lakes drainage basin. Only a small part of northern Indiana in in the great lakes drainage basin, so Lake Michigan is not going to be a solution for central and southern Indiana's water needs
    • underground reservoirs
      As with Indianapolis building a huge underground cistern for wastewater runoff, each city in Indiana needs to build an underground tunnel with capability of holding as much water as Geist, Morse, Eagle Creek. Only with capture of rainwater might the cities and the state be able to sustain during an extended drought. The Anderson reservoir makes sense. Wildcat Creek needs to be dammed up near Lafayette. In essence, wherever there are tributaries flowing into rivers, capture of rainwater and snow melt must be contained within the state of Indiana. Underground Aquifers must be monitored and maintained. Underground rivers must be mapped. The largest source of freshwater for Indiana is Lake Michigan.

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