Water Shortage Task Force

February 27 2009 Meeting Summary

A meeting of the Water Shortage Task was held on February 27, 2009, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (EST) in Conference Room 4 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 27, 2009, task force meeting:

Discussion/Presentation Items:

  1. A brief overview of the new Water Conservation Ordinance for Marion County was provided by Lou Ann Baker of Veolia Water Indianapolis. Lou Ann thanked the Task Force for developing a suggested ordinance for the State, and indicated that adjacent communities that receive water from Indianapolis are also looking at developing water conservation ordinances. 
  2. Discussion of Water Use Priorities:
    • Dr. Dennis Wichelns recommended that a priority use “framework” be developed rather than indicating specific priorities.
    • Water for Health and Safety should have priority, but no other priorities should be specified.
    • Locals should establish priorities. Water should be priced appropriately, and increasing block rate scheduling should be utilized to allow consumers make decisions concerning resource.
    • Carlton Curry indicted that some type of water allocation may be necessary if supply becomes inadequate in a water shortage.
    • Some restrictive ability must be considered with regard to establishing priorities. Fines may have little consequence to affluent individuals during a water shortage, and yet their usage may have negative consequences on other users. Marion County Ordinance has economic incentives; however, it also deals with public safety concerns.
    • Block rate pricing should be encouraged at all times, with restrictions occurring during water shortage conditions. Proper pricing of resource may help to avoid water shortage situations.
    • Goal of public utility is to provide adequate water to all customers regardless of economic factors.
    • How quickly can public be made aware of water shortage and increased pricing or restrictions, etc.
    • Proposed Draft of Water Use Priorities will be further reviewed and discussed during a conference call to be conducted on March 13, 2009.
  3. Statewide Water Conservation Policy
    • Water resource must be viewed differently. Proper valuation of water and conservation will reduce future capital costs.
    • City of Valparaiso is working on water conservation program and stressing education to promote changes in behavior.
    • Utilities may provide minimum flow for public health and safety in the event of a water shortage. Domestic use should have top priority.
    • Water quality may be component of conservation policy.
    • Proposed Draft of Statewide Water Conservation Policy was reviewed. Task force recommended revising the draft to differentiate between policy and programs. Draft policy will be discussed during the upcoming March 13, 2009, conference call.

Upcoming Task Force Meeting:

Next Water Shortage Task Force Meeting scheduled for Friday, March 27, 2009, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (EDT) in Conference Room 1 of the IGCS. Tentative agenda items include:

  • Discussion/Approval of Water Use Priorities;
  • Discussion/Approval of Statewide Water Conservation Policy; and
  • Discussion of Base Flow Policy.