Water Shortage Task Force

November 20, 2008 Meeting Summary

A meeting of the Water Shortage Task was held on November 20, 2008, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (EDT) in Conference Room 2 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 December 17, 2008, task force meeting:

Committee Updates:

A conference call was conducted on November 12, 2008, by subcommittees of the Water Shortage Task Force to discuss Water Supply Planning and Water Conservation.

Discussion/Presentation Items:

1) Discussion of Regional Water Supply Planning:

  • A presentation on “Water Supply Planning in Indiana” was made by Jack Wittman, Water Shortage Task Force Member.
  • Most area state’s water supply plans are fairly new and have been developed since 2000.
  • Planning areas should be developed in Indiana. Some area may require only minimal amount of work while others would need significant monitoring data, etc.
  • Pilot Planning Regions should be developed; however, the entire state should be included in planning efforts. Recommended time frame for water plans could be 25 years, and allow 3-5 years for development.
  • State involvement in regional plans should be for administration, technical assistance, continuity, etc.
  • “Water Fees” could be developed to fund planning efforts. Ground water and surface water resource considered “waters of the state”, and users should fund management plans. Resource should be priced to reflect value of resource, as well as scarcity, if applicable. Volumetric pricing may be most appropriate.
  • Task force should encourage removal of “unknown” with regard to future water use, and provide protection of the resource. Information and planning is necessary for proper response and management during water shortage.
  • Proposed water supply planning “pilot studies” could include the following: Specific area within the Great Lakes Basin (NW Indiana); Indianapolis metropolitan area; and southern portion of state (Patoka, Charlestown, etc). Will need estimated cost for the work necessary to complete pilot studies.
  • The USGS should play active role in water supply planning for the state.
  • How should state respond to water shortage? Should have policy regarding base flow and conservation ordinances for communities. Indiana should look at entire planning picture and how to focus its resources to resolve and avoid water supply problems.
  • Priority of water use has been determined by statute. Must have appropriate decisions regarding water distribution during a shortage.
  • Should flooding be addressed in water shortage plan? Other states have drought and flood response in same plan. Expansion of scope may be possible in Indiana due to relative abundance of water.
  • When looking at the next step, the task force should recognize what has already been completed: 1) drought definition; 2) climate regions identified for implementation; 3) regional planning recommendation; and 4) draft ordinance for enforcement. Water purveyors need tools to deal with a water shortage.
  • Water Resources Study Committee proposed two resolutions; Gage Network Funding and Development of State Drinking Water Plan.

Upcoming Task Force Meeting:

Next Water Shortage Task Force Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, December 17, 2008, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (EST) in Conference Room 5 of the IGCS. Tentative agenda items include:

  • Discussion/Recommendation of Regional Water Planning;
  • Discussion of Base Flow Policy; and
  • Proposed Adoption of Statewide Water Conservation Policy.