Inaugural Summit Highlights 'Value of Water'

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The two-day event took place in downtown Indianapolis. The two-day event took place in downtown Indianapolis.
INDIANAPOLIS -

Organizers of the inaugural Indiana Water Summit say acting like "the grownups in the room" will allow Indiana to create a sustainable water plan to deal with increasing personal and industry demand. White River Alliance Executive Director Jill Hoffman says, as a manufacturing- and agriculture-heavy state, Indiana is among the nation's leaders when it comes to depending on water for economic growth. Monday's summit in Indianapolis covered topics ranging from water planning and quality to infrastructure and flood preparedness.

Hoffman says one of the reasons many people don't think of a water plan as a priority is that they only tend to see water from their own perspective, in the form of home use and personal care. However, she says Indiana's top sectors like the automotive, pharmaceutical and agriculture industries require a lot of water. She says bringing business, government and community leaders together lets them all see the impact of water on "all the economies of the state."

The first step to a comprehensive plan, says Hoffman, is assessment. She says there is currently a lack of data when it comes to the city's water system, so planners need to measure factors like how much water is left in the state's aquifers, who is taking how much out ad what kind of standards allow the state to replenish that supply.

The summit featured a keynote address from Charles Fishman, author of "The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water."

Hoffman also wrote a piece, "The State of Our Waters: The White River's Impact on Our Local Economy," for Inside INdiana Business' Perspectives section. You can connect to the article by clicking here.

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