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Committee: Indiana Needs Better Maps Of Water Sources

A legislative committee is worried that the lack of water source mapping could mean the state is unprepared for dealing with future droughts.

Indiana needs to step up its mapping of underground water sources to ensure regions can handle potential droughts in the future, according to a legislative study committee’s recommendation to the General Assembly.

The Indiana Geological Survey is already working to map the state’s underground water sources, called aquifers. But Jack Wittman, the national director of geosciences at water infrastructure firm Layne Christensen Company, says the work needs to move faster.

“The problem is that the pace of this mapping effort is far too slow for the pace of development and our economy,” he says.

Wittman says before cities and companies expand, they need to know where the water resources are and without detailed maps, that information is not available. Columbia City Senator Jim Banks, who chaired the study committee, says even though the problems might not develop until 20 or 30 years from now, the legislature needs to act soon.

“I would argue that this would be more of a important place to funnel economic development dollars than a lot of the programs that we currently spend that money on,” Banks says.

The study committee report recommends the General Assembly pass legislation that would speed up the mapping process. The next session begins in January.

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