24th Annual Indiana-Michigan St. Joseph River Basin Symposium

Friday, May 10, 2024

The Need to Understand and Manage Water Availability
within River Basins: The Role of Measurement and Modeling

Jack Wittman, PhD, VP Eastern Water, INTERA, Inc.

In Indiana, the problem of managing water supply has been handled by a few agencies because there have been relatively few conflicts among water users. While smaller scale problems do occur, at the scale of the state there are only a handful of developments or climate scenarios that can create statewide water shortages. But we all know that the local problems, where they occur, are what command attention and drive policy. The same is true in Michigan.

At the regional or river basin scale shortages are not only possible, they are also expected. As municipal supplies increase to keep up with population and agriculture ramps up use of groundwater, low flows in the fall are (in some basins) falling each year. Unfortunately for the water users, local governments, and river basin commissions that are “managing” the water, there has been little guidance from the State of Indiana in addressing the basic questions that need answers:

The work of the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) is changing this picture. Today the IFA guides investigations into water availability and future demand to better understand the limits of the resource.

This presentation will outline how the State of Indiana has historically approached these questions. This will include consideration of the following:

Examples of county level data collection and interpretation will be described to identify some of the leaders and successful approaches to water management efforts. Context will be provided based on interviews and programmatic development in other Midwestern States.

Register here

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