A new study finds that water demand in central Indiana is expected to increase by more than 100 million gallons per day by 2070. The comprehensive study underscores the need for planning and investment to ensure there is ample water supply for population growth and economic development. “When companies move to another place, the first question they ask now is, ‘Do you have enough water for my operation?'” said Jack Whittman, vice president of strategy and integration for Texas-based INTERA.

In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Whittman said central Indiana’s water availability is different than other parts of the state and country.

“We have both aquifers and rivers that are really important and reliable as sources of supply and the way that our groundwater works is that…it’s younger water, basically, than much of the groundwater that we hear about in the news every day that’s out west,” said Whittman. “Our water is recharged every year [with] the rain that we’re having and that’s why we are a valuable place to locate business.”

The Central Indiana Water Study was funded by the Indiana Finance Authority with the goal of assessing the future demand and availability of central Indiana’s water resources, while also proposing solutions for water supply issues facing the region.

The study suggests there are adequate water resources in central Indiana for several decades. However, there is a need for continued planning and challenges that need to be addressed, such as water conservation and climate change.

“We have enough water, but we will have to learn how to move that water around our region,” said Whittman. “And every region is going to have to do this some, but central Indiana will need to get used to the idea that it’s not a big deal to move water within the region. We’re not talking about hundreds of miles.”

INTERA is a geosciences and engineering consulting services firm with an office in Indiana that helped conduct the study.

Whittman says the infrastructure and access to water in central Indiana, and elsewhere in the state, will be a big economic development boon.

“I think it’s one of the greatest differentiators the state has in terms of what’s different about this state and why would people want to move here is water access is something we have that’s not easy to find and it’s a natural asset. It’s something that we have around us and it’s something that I think is going to bring companies here to Indiana to build.”

You can connect to the executive summary of the Central Indiana Water Study by clicking here.