State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City), chair of the Water Resources Study Committee and fellow Hoosier legislators learned today from expert hydrologists urging the Indiana General Assembly to consider developing policies to protect and manage Indiana’s valuable water resources.
“We are analyzing Indiana’s supply and economic demand for this vital natural resource,” Banks said. “Our economy heavily relies on industrial facilities and agriculture – both of which require vast amounts of useable fresh water.”
Jack Whitman, a hydrologist and national director of Layne Geosciences, said Indiana contains nearly 100 million acre-feet of stored ground water – a valuable asset worth nearly $300 billion.
“Many states have developed statutes to manage its water resources,” Whitman said. “Indiana will eventually come to a point where it no longer has an unlimited supply of water. We have to prepare ourselves now for future demand – and this means stricter regulation.”
Whitman said better policy will help advance water efficiency, reduce pollution and prevent future shortages.
Legislators will continue examining Indiana’s water supply and seek further expert opinions regarding the state’s current water resources, Banks said.
“Indiana is the wild west of water issues,” Banks said. “We are one of the very few states without guiding principles to monitor water supplies.”
Banks asked Whitman and his colleagues to lay out specific recommendations on water policies for lawmakers to introduce during the next legislative session.