Water Shortage Task Force

August 28, 2008 Meeting Summary

A meeting of the Water Shortage Task was held on August, 2008, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (EDT) in Conference Rooms 4 & 5 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 September 18, 2008, task force meeting:

Committee Updates:

No Committee Meetings were conducted; No updates made.

1) Discussion/Presentation Items:

Ron McAhron of IDNR presented for review a copy of the 2008 Water Shortage Task Force Annual Report which will be provided to the Water Resources Study Committee. The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for September 23, 2008, at 1:00 pm EDT.

  • Comments from the task force regarding the 2008 Annual Report were requested from task force members by 9/4/08.
  • A variety of topics are scheduled to be discussed by the WR Study Committee, including funding for surface and ground-water gages. Ron requested that a task force subcommittee be established to prepare a resolution to address gage funding that could be presented to the WR Study Committee at their next meeting.

2) Discussion of Water Shortage Identification Regions:

The Water Shortage Task Force is charged with drought response and is not required to develop water management planning areas; however the task force should recommend their development in the state.

  • Existing water sheds established for water quality studies may be option for water management planning areas.
  • Task force responsibility may include long range planning (House Resolution 65).
  • Task force should stay focused on issue of “who gets water and when” during water shortage or drought.
  • Draft copy of proposed language for Water Shortage Identification Regions to be revised and distributed to the task force for review.

3) Funding for USGS Gaging Network:

  • Water Resources Study Committee requested recommendation by the task force for single source funding of gaging network.
  • State budget should allow private sector contributions for funding of lake, stream and ground-water gages.
  • Approximately $1.7 million overall funding of gage network in state. USGS contributes $727,587; however, about $600,000 is “match money” that is necessary for program.
  • Task force will create resolution for dedicated funding of gage network to be presented at September 23rd WR Study Committee Meeting. Proposed resolution should recommend 1) line item for funding, and 2) steering committee for review of network and funding. New fund should be independent of DNR, IDEM and INDOT budgets.
  • Gages may be eliminated from state network without agency and local input. Steering committee may help to resolve this issue. Steering committee can be composed of federal, state and local agencies as well as cities and towns and private sector.
  • Newly formed Indiana Monitoring Council could form strategic group to review gage network. State of Maryland has monitoring council to oversee gage network. Information regarding Maryland’s program will be provided to task force.
  • USGS representative reported that gage costs will likely increase during the coming year with the states picking up much of the increase. Proposed dedicated fund for gages should allow for inflation.
  • IDNR, IDEM and INDOT should make budget proposals regarding the creation of a dedicated fund for gage network. Name of fund should reflect the importance of program and data that is generated.
  • Motion was made for the creation of a Water Shortage Task Force Subgroup that will prepare language for a resolution providing guidance to protect funding and provide oversight of the statewide stream, lake and ground-water gage network. Motion was passed.

4) Local Water Planning:

  • Local water planning has been recommended in Water Shortage Plan (Water Shortage Identification Regions).
  • It was suggested that the task force recommend that all PWS utilities develop conservation plans.
  • Jack Wittman is currently working with Indiana-American Water to develop conservation plans for 21 utilities, and is assisting IURC with policy development for agency. IURC is placing emphasis on conservation plans by PWS utilities under their authority.
  • IDEM is currently developing rules to address “unaccounted for water” by PWS utilities.
  • Glenn Pratt suggested that PWS utilities be required to have drought/water shortage ordinances.

Upcoming Task Force Meeting:

Next Water Shortage Task Force Meeting scheduled for Thursday, September 18, 2008, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (EDT) in Conference Rooms 4 and 5 of the IGCS. Tentative agenda items include:

  • Determination of Water Shortage Identification Regions;
  • Review of proposed Resolution to Protect and Maintain Statewide Gage Network; and
  • Discussion/Determination of Consumptive Use Definition;