• WBST 92.1 FMMuncie
  • WBSB 89.5 FMAnderson
  • WBSW 90.9 FMMarion
  • WBSH 91.1 FMHagerstown / New Castle
Indiana Public Radio, a listener-supported service of Ball State University

Growing Central Indiana Will Need More Water In The Future

By Rebecca Thiele, IPB News | Published on in Environment, Government, Statewide News
The White River from the Indianapolis Art Center's ArtsPark. In the future, the IFA says less surface water like the White River will be withdrawn and more groundwater will be used, like from wells. (Eric Schmuttenmaer/Wikimedia Commons)
The White River from the Indianapolis Art Center's ArtsPark. In the future, the IFA says less surface water from sources like the White River will be withdrawn and more groundwater will be used, like from wells. (Eric Schmuttenmaer/Wikimedia Commons)

The central Indiana region will need to withdraw almost 30 percent more water 50 years from now than it does today. That’s according to the first of several reports from the Indiana Finance Authority on the region’s water needs.

Half of that water will be needed for public drinking water supplies in Indianapolis and the nine counties that surround it.

“The suburban areas have grown very rapidly. The urban areas are more stable, relatively speaking in terms of population. So there’s been this ring of growth that surrounds the city,” said Jack Wittman, vice president of INTERA Geoscience & Engineering Solutions.

The IFA said the demand for water for businesses and agriculture is expected to go up too.

Since the early 2000s, water use for energy in the area has gone down dramatically due to coal plants shutting down.

READ MORE: We’re Using Less Water, But Indiana Industries Still Need A Lot Of It

We don’t know yet if there is enough water supply in central Indiana to meet that demand — the IFA is working on that report right now. Wittman said Indiana doesn’t have the water supply issues that you see in other parts of the country.

“It’s not really, ‘Is it there?’ as much as, ‘Are we going to take care of it?'” he said.

The Finance Authority hopes to have a water plan for the central Indiana region by the end of this year.

Contact reporter Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.