Principle I: Active Stewardship of Our Water Resources is Essential for This and Future Generations
C. Indiana's Water Governance
At least eight Indiana government agencies currently gather data and manage aspects of Indiana’s water policy: The Department of Environmental Management, the Department of Natural Resources, the Indiana Geological Survey, the Utilities Regulatory Commission, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health, and the State Chemist. There is also a state network of soil and water conservation districts. Each of these governmental units is tasked with accomplishing its own essential purposes. There is no agency with comprehensive responsibility or vision. For a resource as vital as Indiana’s water, it is essential that Indiana’s governing structure include one entity that is charged with developing and maintaining a state-wide perspective on water. We think the right way to do that will be to establish an Indiana Water Authority.
On the other hand, as we have established, Indiana’s natural waters are profoundly different in different parts of the state. One size will not fit all in water management. Thus, the detailed planning and management of water is best done regionally. We need to establish new regional structures that will be suited to meet the planning and management need. Our vision for regional management is set forth later in this Report.
Recommendation 4. Consolidate and expand existing water stewardship efforts within the state by creating a new organization, the Indiana Water Authority (IWA).