Indiana communities underutilize Lake Monroe, Patoka Lake and Brookville Lake as sources of water, according to a recent report compiled by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
IURC officials say few local utilities have plans in place for how to deal with a water shortage.
Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission spokesperson Danielle McGrath says the commission worked with the water utilities across the state to gather information and create a report on the state’s water resources.
Of the nearly 500 utilities the agency surveyed, McGrath says only half have plans in place for what to do if water supplies run low.
“We want to make sure that we’re not waiting for the next crisis to jump in to figure out what to do,” she says. “We’ve found that if we start these conversations now and we continue the dialogue that Indiana will be much better positioned down the line should another drought or some type of shortage occur in the future.”
That’s where Monroe, Patoka and Brookville lakes come in.
The IURC recommends that the state begin looking to water sources such as these that aren’t being used to their full capacity. Hydrologist Jack Wittman is the former national director of Layne Christensen Geo-sciences Organization, a company that builds reservoirs and other types of water supplies.
“In any other state further west that asset would be used and understood as common knowledge for economic development. Here we’re kind of afraid of talking about it because we use it for recreation and we get distracted with the fact that we can boat in it and swim in it,” he says.
The IURC has used the report in making recommendations to a committee of state lawmakers.