July 5, 2018

We're Using Less Water, But Indiana Industries Still Need A Lot Of It

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC

Water use across the country is at its lowest level since the 1960s. That’s according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

The biggest reasons for the decline are that Texas and California imposed restrictions on water use due to drought. The country is also moving away from coal and toward natural gas, which uses less water to generate energy.

Melissa Harris is the southeast regional specialist on water use for the U.S. Geological Survey. She says in Indiana alone, thermoelectric power from sources like coal went down about 20 percent from 2010 to 2015. Harris says all but one of the state's coal power plants has decreased its output in the past five years. 

Still, in 2015, Indiana withdrew the most water for industrial uses of any state in the country. It takes a lot of water to make cars, medical devices and drugs.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce worries the state won’t have enough water in the future. Chamber energy and environmental policy vice president Greg Ellis says the state needs to fund the water infrastructure overhaul it promised last year. Ellis says Indiana shouldn’t have to face the same issues as states out West.

“Where water gets rationed or there’s huge fights over the availability for certain sectors, whether it be [agriculture], or manufacturing, or residential,” he says. 

Ellis says the fact that water infrastructure is lacking along the new I-69 corridor is especially troubling. 

In addition to Senate Bill 416, the state also created a water infrastructure task force to research Indiana's water needs. 

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.

Support independent journalism today. You rely on WFYI to stay informed, and we depend on you to make our work possible. Donate to power our nonprofit reporting today. Give now.



Related News

OUCC, Solar Advocates Want The State To Deny CenterPoint's Reimbursement Request
Starting June 1, Unemployed Hoosiers Must Actively Be Looking For Work
Remains ID'd Of 2 Indiana Brothers Killed At Pearl Harbor