According to a press release on the Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s website issued on June 30, The Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security are preparing to send notification letters to owners and operators of facilities in the following counties that have capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons or more per day: Allen, Carroll, Cass, Daviess, DeKalb, Dubois, Elkhart, Fulton, Gibson, Grant, Greene, Howard, Huntington, Knox, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marshall, Martin, Miami, Noble, Orange, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer,
Steuben, Sullivan, Vanderburgh, Wabash, Warrick, Wells, and Whitley.
The notification letters will be sent as part of the state’s Water Shortage Plan. The plan identifies watch, warning, and emergency levels and outlines coordinated responses to each condition in an effort to avoid or reduce potential water shortages, relieve stressed water sources and, if possible,
forestall the need for mandatory water use restrictions.
Because of the potential for long-term drought and heightened fire danger, the notification letters identify the current condition in the affected 32 counties as warning level. The rest of the state is under watch conditions.
According to the Water Conservation Program, Water Shortage Warning individuals and towns are being asked to reduce lawn watering, water usage for washing and/or flushing streets, driveways, recreation use, outside pressure cleaning, washing of autos, mobile equipment, boats, trailers, and
for cooling and air conditioning.
Farmers are also being asked to reduce irrigation by 10 percent to 15 percent, irrigate during non-peak evaporation hours and avoided under high wind conditions. These recommended actions can
be found on page 16-18 of the plan located at www.in.gov/dnr/water/files/watshplan.pdf.
The conservation goal is to reduce water use by 10-15 percent at the warning level and 5 percent at the watch level by instituting a variety of voluntary actions.
Although current conditions address high-capacity water facilities, all Hoosiers are encouraged to conserve water and energy use. Conserving energy helps conserve water. Taking voluntary actions now will help later if conditions worsen.
Al Shipe with the National Weather Service office in Indianapolis said Indiana faces “possibly a historic drought. I see no real break in the heat and lack of rain.”
The National Weather Service issued a fire weather watch for most of Indiana on Thursday but not on Friday. Drew Daily, state fire supervisor for the DNR Division of Forestry, said a fire weather watch designation is similar to a tornado watch.
“In other words, a fire weather watch means critical fire conditions are forecast to occur based on weather and fuel moistures,” Daily said. “We are not under a fire weather watch at this time (Friday), but we are running high to very high fire danger.”
DNR and IDHS work with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana Department of Agriculture, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, and the National Weather Service to implement the Water Shortage Plan.