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The Division of Water History

The Department of Conservation and the Indiana Flood Control and Water Resources Commission merged in 1965 to create the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Divisions were subsequently formed within the DNR to address specialized natural resource concerns. Water resource programs of both former agencies were assigned to the Division of Water, reflecting the dual concern for 1) resource evaluation and conservation, and 2) public safety in flood prone areas. The Division of Water tackles diverse responsibilities associated with the evaluation and use of Indiana's most vital natural resource, and development near Indiana's waterways and lakes.

Division of Water Sections  

  • Administration Provides support for all programs and sections of the Division of Water.
  • Compliance and Enforcement Investigates potential violations of the Flood Control Act, Lake Preservation Act, Regulation of Dams, and other statutes; works with property owners to resolve violations; and educates the public and others on regulatory requirements in order to increase compliance with statutes and reduce violations.
  • Dams and Levees Responds to dam safety incidents and emergencies; reviews proposed publicly and privately owned dams, oversees dam maintenance and inspection requirements, inspects dams, provides guidance on dam safety, develops dam breach flood inundation mapping, and serves as experts for dam safety issues.
  • Engineering Services and GIS Maps floodplains and reviews computer modeling for permit applications and compliance files; participates in the Cooperating Technical Partner program with FEMA to develop and maintain floodplain mapping; provides engineering, GIS, and other expertise to assist in projects and process improvements across sections; coordinates all geographic information systems (GIS) activities in the division.
  • Floodplain Management State’s coordinating agency for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP); serves as FEMA’s liaison to local communities to implement their floodplain ordinances; conducts periodic audits of Indiana NFIP participating communities; helps communities resolve violations; provides flood insurance information to communities; serves as experts on FEMA standards for floodplain development; and provides outreach, education and technical support for local floodplain management programs.
  • Lake Michigan Reviews permit applications for construction and emergency repair requests; serves as expert on wind, waves, coastal erosion, dredging, sand movement, and seawall construction; advises the Lake Michigan Coastal Program.
  • Project Development Provides technical assistance on issues regarding water resources, including lakes; serves as point of contact for the administration of the Conservancy Act and Watershed Development Commission Act and assists groups during formation and implementation;  and assists river basin commissions.
  • Resource Assessment Researches water resource availability, maps groundwater resources, provides data analysis for monitoring drought and groundwater.
  • Technical Services Oversees permitting for the Flood Control Act, Lake Preservation Act, Regulation of Dams, Navigable Waterways, and other statutes; provides floodplain and regulatory information to the public.
  • Water Rights and Use Facilitates assessment, protection, and provision of Indiana’s groundwater and surface water resources; oversees water well driller licensing and continuing education; investigates water rights complaints; administers significant water withdrawal facility registration and water-use reporting; administers Indiana’s implementation of the Great Lakes Compact; and coordinates the sale of water from State-financed reservoirs.

Division of Water Staff Commitment Division of Water staff members are engaged in multiple activities that benefit both current and future generations of Indiana residents and property holders:

  • We collect, maintain, and provide water resource information. Information users include individual citizens, business and industry, environmental organizations, federal, state, and local government agencies.
  • We generate surface and groundwater resource assessments.
  • We strive to alleviate flood disaster damages and abuse of Indiana's water resources through floodplain regulation, dam and levee inspection, construction projects, water rights administration, and public education.
  • We understand that Indiana's natural resources are inter-related and we cooperate with other IDNR Divisions to accomplish our common goals.

Division of Water Goals / Strategic Directions

  • Deliver customer friendly products and services consistently.
  • Increase the number of E-products available to customers.
  • Design products and processes that are cost-justified and value added.
  • Build job aids that enable staff to work effectively and efficiently.

Annual Report

To see some of what the Division of Water has been up to, check out our latest annual report.


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