A new Indiana law could prevent so-called ‘water wars’ between Indiana and Kentucky, according to New Albany’s News and Tribune.
House Enrolled Act Twelve Eleven sets up the Trans-border Water Resources Authority, which will assess who has rights to water resources shared among Indiana and neighboring states.
The Water Resources Authority panel established in the law can also broker agreements between states. The Water Resources Authority will be made up of four members of the general assembly, four from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and four individuals appointed by the governor.
The driving force behind the creation of the Authority is that Clark County, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky, share an aquifer– an underground body of permeable rock that can hold or transmit water. The aquifer in question is very abundant. And with both Clark County and Louisville having large factories and commercial centers, a lot of water is needed.
State Representative Steven Stemler wrote Act twelve eleven to avoid any kind of legal issue.
“Between Tennessee and Mississippi, they have the exact same issue in terms of they share a water aquifer underneath both states. So it transcends the state line. They are in a substantial lawsuit now where millions of dollars of not only who owns the water but actually the revenue that’s been derived by taking water out of it. They need to compensate each other for the water they’ve used that they thought was theirs” Stemler says.
Stemler’s law was the first in the state to address interstate-below-ground water. It received unanimous support when proposed. Stemler is looking forward to the next step and Kentucky is now aiming to have a similar law ready for their next legislative session.