Hamilton County is often one of fastest-growing communities in the state, which requires upgrading infrastructure, according to local officials. County Surveyor Kent Ward said the county’s water supply and distribution systems have had to “stretch to keep up” with the county’s growth.
The county recently commissioned INTERA Inc. to study the county’s water availability over the next three years and determine best conservation practices.
The $2.1 million-plus study is funded through the county’s federal American Rescue Plan Act. The study comes on the heels of a Central Indiana Water Availability report published by the Indiana Development Finance Authority in 2020. The report indicated an alarming increase in water use in Hamilton County, specifically drinking water.
“We need to do what we can now to ensure we can deliver safe and reliable water to the community in the future,” Ward said.
The study began Aug. 2. INTERA will provide an annual report throughout the study.
“We are hoping this can be used as a model throughout the state for other counties to be able to use,” Ward said.
The INTERA study will monitor aquifer and surface water levels and quality to better define seasonal variations and identify potential conflicts in use, discover ways to improve long-term water availability, improve efficiency and expand aquifer yield for drinking water use and consider alternative engineering designs for recharging the aquifers.
“Hamilton County is at a crossroads relative to growth, connectivity and application of digital tools to modern problems,” INTERA Vice President Jack Wittman stated. “Simply stated, more data is needed to solve the water availability needs in the county. Our plan will provide the county with real-time information that can help inform water supply stewardship.”
Hamilton County Commissioners President Mark Heirbrandt said the county is the first in the state to commit to such a water study.
“This will not only modernize our system but help us strategically plan for the future,” Heirbrandt stated. “We’re looking to protect and preserve our water supply while supporting growth and providing regional benefits to all water users.”