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Chamber: State Needs Plan to Safeguard Adequate Water Supply

Growth in southern Indiana stretches limits of available infrastructure

 

Indiana has enough water to meet its needs, but may be approaching problems in getting it where it's needed, according to a new study.

A report commissioned by the Indiana Chamber warns population growth and development in the southern third of the state threaten to outstrip the available water. Bloomington hydrologist Jack Wittman says there's an ample water supply despite a relative shortage of streams and aquifers, thanks to reservoirs built half a century ago. But as once-sparsely populated areas, such as the corridor for the extended I-69, continue to grow, delivering that water to where it's needed.

Wittman says northern Indiana is better off, but says increasing irrigation could eventually create issues there too.

The Chamber is backing Wittman's recommendation that the state begin setting aside money to create a water infrastructure, including a network of monitoring wells to track just how much water there is. President Kevin Brinegar says availability of water is critical to thousands of Indiana jobs.

Wittman says it'll take at least three years to put a comprehensive water plan in place. He puts a very rough estimate of the cost at $10 million a year.

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