Water Shortage Task Force

February 15, 2008 Meeting Summary

A meeting of the Water Shortage Task was held on February 15, 2008, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (EST) in Conference Room A of the IGCS in Indianapolis. The following is a brief summary of discussion topics, presentations, suggested action items, motions, and a proposed agenda for the upcoming March 28, 2008, task force meeting:

Committee Updates:

No Committee Meetings were conducted; No updates made.

Discussion/Presentation Items:

  • Update on the status of the Great Lakes Compact (SEA 45) was provided by Ryan Huff of IDNR. The Compact has passed through both houses of the Legislature and is now eligible for the Governor’s signature. Indiana is first Great Lake State to pass implementation language for the Compact.
  • John Goss reported that passage of the Compact was the result of productive communication through public meetings between the Legislature, the general public and industry which allowed for input prior to introduction of the bill. The process is a good example for the work currently being completed by the Water Shortage Task Force.
  • Presentation by Kim Shaffer, hydrologist with the USGS Ohio Water Science Center that summarized consumptive water-use coefficients for the Great Lakes Basin and climatically similar areas.
  • Consumptive use typically determined by two methodologies: 1) water withdrawals minus return flow; or 2) application of consumptive use coefficients.
  • Statistical analysis of consumptive use coefficients for the Great Lakes Basin, climatically similar areas, and the world were presented. The data summarized the variability of reported coefficients for each water use category.
  • Task force members expressed concerns regarding the development of the coefficients, particularly for the irrigation category.
  • The USGS report “Consumptive Water-Use Coefficients for the Great Lakes Basin and Climatically Similar Areas” will be available for review within two to three weeks at http://infotrek.er.usgs.gov/pubs/.
  • Review of Available Drought Indices summary report was presented by Dr. Dev Niyogi, Indiana State Climatologist. The report evaluated several drought indices and recommended the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) as the drought index for Indiana. Dr. Niyogi also recommended that the SPI be used in addition to information available from the US Drought Monitor and input from agencies such as the State Climate Office, National Weather Service, USGS, and other local agencies to accurately assess the threat of drought.
  • Task Force recommended that the report be provide to members of industry, agriculture, Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, etc. for review. Approval of the SPI as the drought trigger will be considered at the next WSTF Meeting. Task Force members will also be provided additional data with regard to the SPI prior to the meeting.
  • Bill Beranek of the Indiana Environmental Institute inquired about situations where the SPI may not be the best drought indicator.

Upcoming Task Force Meeting:

  • Next Water Shortage Task Force Meeting scheduled for March 28, 2008, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (EDT) in Conference Room A of the IGCS. Tentative agenda items include:
  • Review of public comment and potential adoption of SPI as drought trigger for Water Shortage Plan.
  • Discussion of appropriate Water Management Planning Areas