By Sara Jerome,
Water shortages are coming to Indiana unless the state implements policy changes, according to a recent prediction by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
"Proper management and a long-term plan are needed to ensure adequate fresh water for citizens and businesses in the future," according to the study, released in August.
Southern Indiana faces urgent water challenges.
In that region, "local water supplies are insufficient for meeting future public needs, the study said. The report noted that few aquifers or perennial streams exist immediately south of Bloomington — a prime area for business development with the expansion of I-69 and continued work at the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center," the IndyStar reported.
The study said that water levels in northern Indiana are more secure, but the amount of water used for irrigation is rising, according to the IndyStar. Water use is on the rise in central Indiana as well, and has the potential to increase by 50 million gallons used per day by 2050 as the population grows.
Indiana, a major farming and manufacturing state, has a huge reliance on water. "A separate study done by the University of Michigan found Indiana to be first in the nation in the percentage of its economy that depends on water," NUVO Newsweekly reported.
The Chamber aimed its study at public officials.
"The report is 'a call to action' for Indiana officials to better prepare for future water usage, said Thomas Bruns, president of Aqua Indiana and a member of a council that guided the study," according to the Courier-Journal.
Kevin Brinega, president of the Indiana Chamber, framed water scarcity as an economic problem.
“This is definitely a jobs and economic development issue,” he said in a release from the group. “Our state's economy is growing more diverse, but we always will make things. And it often takes large, reliable supplies of water to do so."
Check out Water Online's Water Scarcity Solution Center.
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