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About Us

The Division of Water History

The Department of Conservation and the Indiana Flood Control and Water Resources Commission merged in 1965 to create the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Divisions were subsequently formed within the DNR to address specialized natural resource concerns. Water resource programs of both former agencies were assigned to the Division of Water, reflecting the dual concern for 1) resource evaluation and conservation, and 2) public safety in flood prone areas. The Division of Water tackles diverse responsibilities associated with the evaluation and use of Indiana's most vital natural resource, and development near Indiana's waterways and lakes.

Division of Water Organization

The Division of Water is subdivided into five major workgroups.

  • The Administration Unit oversees the financial operation of the Division, manages procurement, and performs personnel functions.
  • The Environmental Unit determines if regulated man-made projects will have an unreasonable detrimental effect upon plant and animal resources.
  • Customer Services / Education Branch staff members focus on public assistance, staff support, and training.
  • Technical Services Branch responsibilities are related to the administration of regulatory programs, and water resource evaluations.
  • Engineering Services Branch responsibilities focus on floodplain engineering and dam safety assessments.

Each of the three branches (Customer Services / Education, Technical Services, Engineering Services) is further subdivided into separate workgroups called Sections. Each Section has unique expertise and defined responsibilities. A few Sections provide internal services such as computer maintenance and clerical duties; however, most Sections administer Indiana DNR regulatory programs including floodway construction, dam safety compliance, conservancy district activities, and water well construction. The Division of Water endeavors to help the public understand and comply with these regulatory programs.

In addition to serving as a regulatory agency, the Division of Water provides practical water related information including ground water availability throughout Indiana and participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.

  • Division of Water Work Groups
    • Floodplain Management Branch
    • Resource Assessment Branch
    • Compliance and Projects Branch
      • Floodplain Management Branch Assistant Director George Bowman, P.E., manages five Sections assigned to the Customer Services / Education Branch. Branch responsibilities focus on public assistance, staff support, and training.
        • The Floodplain Management Section helps local communities develop flood hazard mitigation plans, provides support to State and federal agencies during flood emergencies, and monitors community compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program and State floodplain regulations.
        • Information Services provides, software, and GIS support.
        • The three Engineering Services Basin Sections (North, Central, and South) develop hydrologic and hydraulic models and floodplain maps, review technical models submitted for permits and floodplain assessments, and evaluate proposed alterations to National Flood Insurance Program studies.
      • Resource Assessment Branch Assistant Director James J. Hebenstreit, P.E., manages six Sections assigned to the Technical Services Branch. Most Branch responsibilities are related to the administration of regulatory programs, and water resource evaluations. Jim also oversees the operation of the Michigan City field office.
        • The three Technical Services Basin Teams (North, Central, and South) administer permit programs for shoreline and lakebed alterations, ditch reconstructions, navigable waterways, and construction projects located within a floodway. The teams also provide flood insurance information and floodplain map interpretation.
        • The Water Rights / Use Section investigates ground water and surface water conflicts, administers the licensing program for water well drillers, and regulates well construction and plugging requirements. This Section also maintains the water well record and water use databases.
        • The Resource Assessment Section conducts water resource evaluations statewide, and generates geohydrologic reports and maps. This Section also estimates the effects of lake dredging projects, conducts water use and demand analyses, and produces the Water Resource Web Page
        • The Michigan City field office provides technical assistance related to Lake Michigan lake levels and shoreline erosion.
      • Compliance and Projects Branch Assistant Director Kenneth E. Smith, P.E., manages five Sections assigned to the Engineering Services Branch. Branch responsibilities focus on floodplain engineering and dam safety assessments.
        • The Dams / Levees Section inspects dams and levees under State jurisdiction, reviews dam / levee construction plans, and provides safety improvement recommendations to dam and levee owners.
        • The Survey / Mapping Section provides surveying support for the Division's engineering studies by surveying high water marks, establishing benchmarks, and generating topographic maps.
        • Project Development Section provides technical support for local and State funded water resource construction projects, administers the Conservancy District Act, reviews flood control and rural water supply revolving fund loan applications, and provides technical advice to River Basin Commissions.
        • The Compliance Section conducts onsite public assistance visits and investigates reported lake and stream violations.

Division of Water Staff Commitment Division of Water staff members are engaged in multiple activities that benefit both current and future generations of Indiana residents and property holders:

  • We collect, maintain, and provide water resource information. Information users include individual citizens, business and industry, environmental organizations, federal, state, and local government agencies.
  • We generate surface and groundwater resource assessments.
  • We strive to alleviate flood disaster damages and abuse of Indiana's water resources through floodplain regulation, dam and levee inspection, construction projects, water rights administration, and public education.
  • We understand that Indiana's natural resources are inter-related and we cooperate with other IDNR Divisions to accomplish our common goals.

Division of Water Goals / Strategic Directions

  • Deliver customer friendly products and services consistently.
  • Increase the number of E-products available to customers.
  • Design products and processes that are cost-justified and value added.
  • Build job aids that enable staff to work effectively and efficiently.