The state is kicking off a series of regional water studies to help Indiana with its water supply and infrastructure needs.
At this week’s Indiana Water Summit, Jim McGoff with the Indiana Finance Authority says the state is starting to collect data from the central part of the state — which already has a regional water collaborative.
In order to access Indiana’s new $20 million annual loan program for water infrastructure improvements, communities must try to collaborate with other cities and towns.
State Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange) says people tend to see water as a local issue, but the state needs to help Hoosiers see that regional planning can benefit them.
“People are very, very protective, down to the farmer who needs the water for irrigation to grow his crops, down to the individuals who use it for recreation,” she says.
The study area will cover the same counties as the collaborative: Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Morgan and Shelby counties.
Jeff Willman with Citizens Energy Group is part of the central Indiana collaborative, along with other utilities in the region. He says drought is an especially big problem in central Indiana.
“You got to make sure you have enough or you make sure you're in a position to be able to coordinate through those drought situations together,” Willman says.
Willman says Boone County especially has a limited supply of water. The state has already completed water studies in the southeast Indiana region.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.