Water Shortage Task Force

October 23, 2008 Meeting Summary

A meeting of the Water Shortage Task was held on October 23, 2008, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (EDT) in Conference Room 1 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 November 20, 2008, task force meeting:

Committee Updates:

No Committee Meetings were conducted; No updates made.

Discussion/Presentation Items:

1) Proposed Resolution for the Funding of USGS Gaging Network:

  • Proposed Resolution was circulated throughout other state agencies for review. Concern was raised regarding the proposed administration of the gage fund. It was suggested that the agencies (IDNR, IDEM, INDOT and IDHS) enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for funding.
  • State funding of gage network should include all gages, even those currently funded by other entities. Data from some privately funded gages are not available to state agencies.
  • Objectives of the Task Force are to have applicable state agencies work together to ensure funds for current network and provide funding mechanism for future upkeep and potential expansion of gage network. Goal of Task Force is to protect network and emphasize its importance.
  • MOU should provide for the evaluation, funding and potential expansion of the gage network.
  • Ron McAhron of IDNR will make a presentation to the Water Resources Study Committee on October 29 regarding the gage network and funding needs.
  • A motion was made by the Task Force to modify the Proposed Resolution for Gage Funding by replacing the reference to the establishment of a dedicated fund with language that promotes the development of a MOU between IDEM, IDNR, INDOT and IDHS to ensure the future evaluation and funding of the gage network. Motion was approved.

2) Discussion of Base Flow Policy:

  • Great Lakes Compact designates higher priority streams. Task Force may do something similar for Water Shortage Plan.
  • Establishment of Base Flow is important because water withdrawals can have significant environmental consequences. Stream Base Flows are not uniform across the state. Water availability and resilience to drought varies from stream to stream.
  • IDNR does not have the statutory authority to prioritize between the water needs of fish and power plants. Statutory authority to establish minimum stream flows is provided for in IC 14-25-7.
  • Q80 is recommended as a goal for stream flow in the current Water Shortage Plan.
  • Streams have different thresholds. Task force must be sensitive to this concept when determining base flow policy.
  • The provisions of the Water Shortage Plan will likely be driven at a local level. Plan will probably be more of a guide rather than a rule.
  • Regional Planning efforts may allow for local decisions regarding stream flow, water use priorities, etc. Regional planning should include components specific to the area.
  • A subcommittee composed of staff from IDEM, IDNR (Division of Water and Fish & Wildlife) and Task Force members will investigate in stream flow requirements for
  • Indiana and other states. Subcommittee will report findings to the full Task Force at a future date.

3) Recommendation of Statewide Policy Promoting Water Conservation:

  • All eight of the Great Lakes States agree to voluntary water conservation in accordance with the provisions of the Compact.
  • State of
  • Indiana must identify tools and planning methods for water conservation, as well as educational component.
  • IDNR has investigated water conservation in the past. Agency must adapt to existing class of users. State must articulate water conservation policy and methods.
  • DNR must provide for conservation and efficiency information. Link will be placed on DNR website.
  • Water conservation subcommittee will participate in a conference call prior to the next WSTF meeting to begin developing a policy statement for the state.
  • IDNR will include water conservation and efficiency information during mailing of 2008 water use report forms to irrigators
  • Conservation should be promoted as qualitative issue.

4) Other Discussion Topics:

  • Draft Water Shortage Plan will be made available on DNR website for review and suggested revision. Method of revision will be presented at upcoming November meeting.
  • Great Lakes Compact becomes effective on December 8, 2008. States will be developing guidance documents to address water withdrawal proposals occurring prior to rule development.
  • Regional Water Supply Planning to be discussed by committee including task force members, IDNR and IDEM staff. Discussion to occur by conference call tentatively scheduled for November 12, 2008.

Upcoming Task Force Meeting:

Next Water Shortage Task Force Meeting scheduled for Thursday, November 20, 2008, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (EST) in Conference Room 2 of the IGCS. Tentative agenda items include:

  • Discussion of Regional Water Planning;
  • Discussion of Base Flow Policy; and
  • Discussion of Statewide Water Conservation Policy.