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NewsTalk

Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

One thing that's going right in Indiana

May 27, 2010

In a state where the parade of bad news—education levels, income shortfalls, poor health—never seems to end, an issue that’s huge news in other parts of the world is all but irrelevant.

Water is about as plentiful as air in Indiana. With a few exceptions, the state is blessed with an abundance of both surface and ground water.

If anyone would know about shortages, it would be Mark Basch, who has been tracking water levels for the Department of Natural Resources for a quarter century. So let’s put it this way: If Basch needed emergency-based adrenaline rushes to stay interested in his job, he’d have quit a long time ago.

“It doesn’t appear we’re seeing this long-term trend in water levels dropping,” Basch says. “We don’t see an overall lowering of groundwater levels in the state.”

Indiana gets so much rain that even after the drought of 1988, aquifers drawn down by agricultural irrigation refilled within a year or two.

The Indianapolis area is little different than other parts of the state, he says. During dry stretches, some wells on the south side of the city are drawn down a few feet, but that’s about all.

Basch won’t speculate on the state’s water capacity. But he emphasizes it’s a lot more than current usage.

That beats areas of the world where rivers dry up before reaching the ocean and aquifers are dwindling with little hope of recharge. The issue promises to spark more conflicts as populations rise.

Any thoughts on water? Is it so plentiful that we Hoosiers are inclined to waste?
 

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