Water Shortage Task Force

June 27, 2008 Meeting Summary

A meeting of the Water Shortage Task was held on June 27, 2008, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm (EDT) in Conference Room C 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 July 25, 2008, task force meeting: Committee Updates: No Committee Meetings were conducted; No updates made. Discussion/Presentation Items:

1. Ron McAhron of IDNR provided a brief overview of House Resolution 65 which encourages regional water supply planning.

  • Task force will attempt to develop final draft of updated Water Shortage Plan by late August, 2008.

2. Discussion and Potential approval of Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) as Drought Trigger for Indiana’s Water Shortage Plan: 

  • Draft language was presented for SPI to replace existing reference to PDHI in Water Shortage Plan.
  • Drought trigger consists of SPI, U.S. Drought Monitor and Stream flow data.
  • Drought indices reported for 9 climatic regions in the state.
  • When indices are conflicting, more emphasis given to U.S. Drought Monitor.
  • State Climatologist believes one month SPI is best indicator of drought conditions.
  • SPI calculated by Midwest Climate Center using 70 precipitation stations with real-time data located throughout the state.
  • IDNR, Division of Water may be best agency to post precipitation data on web due to rapid turn around time.
  • Task Force should make recommendation to legislature for additional climatic stations in locations of state with limited available data (SW and SE portions of state).
  • U.S. Drought Monitor was initially available for climatic regions, but now can be delineated on county level. State Climatologist provides input prior to map publication.
  • Concern was raised that using U.S. Drought Monitor as guidance for drought determination may not correlate with water planning areas.
  • IDNR will do more frequent analysis of drought conditions when climatic area is identified by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Drought may best be defined on county level.
  • Two motions were made regarding the identification and application of the proposed drought trigger levels: Motion #1: On an interim basis, use the U.S. Drought Monitor map format shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4 in the Draft Report of Indiana’s Water Shortage Plan for the purpose of defining drought within the State. The action plan will be triggered for a county when any part of the county is identified as having drought conditions. Motion was approved. Motion #2: Recommend that Table 1 of the Draft Report of Indiana’s Water Shortage Plan be used as criteria to identify drought conditions within the state, with appropriate color modifications. Motion was approved.

3. Water Conservation Measures:

  • Carlton Curry indicated that the Indianapolis Water Company had adopted a conservation plan to be used during drought conditions. The plan has been approved at the board level and has been presented to the City-County Council for approval. There is continued discussion whether the plan should include other water shortage causes.
  • Scott Bell of the IURC indicated that a meeting was recently held including representatives of the IURC, OUCC, IDNR and the Governor’s Office regarding water conservation.
  • Indianapolis Water, Indiana-American Water, and Utility Center, Inc. reached Joint Stipulation and Settlement Agreements (IURC Cause Nos. 43056, 43187 and 43331, respectively) with the OUCC regarding the implementation of conservation plans and measures.
  • IURC investigating methods of providing compensation to investor-owned utilities for the implementation of conservation plans.
  • IURC interested in “water loss” by public water supply utilities. Recommended that the term “unaccounted for water” be used due to non-metered main flushing, fire suppression, etc.
  • Recommend a State policy regarding conservation. Other state programs and policies will be reviewed and presented at July WSTF Meeting.
  • Public education can be improved with better IDNR website, state fair presentations, etc.
  • Existing water shortage plan (pages 5-22) will be reviewed and proposed revisions made by July WSTF Meeting.
  • Task Force should recommend that County and Cities and Towns Associations should issue resolutions for all PWS utilities to adopt SPI and U.S. Drought Monitor as triggers.
  • Water conservation efforts of IURC were praised by Glenn Pratt. Would like to see all PWS utilities be mandated to develop drought plan.

4. Consumptive Use Criteria:

  • Consumptive use may be defined as any withdrawal that reduces the supply from which it is pumped or diverted. A ground-water supply utility that discharges to surface water after wastewater treatment may be considered 100% consumptive.
  • Some published consumptive use criteria may not be reliable. Water Shortage Plan should identify source of existing criteria.
  • Definition of consumptive use must be developed and included in Glossary of Terms.
  • What will be the purpose of consumptive use criteria within the Water Shortage Plan, and how are they relevant to implementation.

5. Discussion of Future Meeting Dates: Task Force Meetings currently scheduled for Friday, July 25 and Thursday, August 28, 2008, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (EDT) in the IGCS, Indianapolis.

Upcoming Task Force Meeting: Next Water Shortage Task Force Meeting scheduled for Friday, July 25, 2008, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (EDT) in Conference Rooms 4 and 5 of the IGCS. Tentative agenda items include:

  • Discussion of Conservation Measures and State Policy;
  • Evaluation of Consumptive Use Criteria;
  • Discussion of Water Management Planning Areas; and
  • Review of Proposed Revisions to Existing Water Shortage Plan.