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Drought prompts reminders for irrigation rules

—From the Indiana State
Department of Agriculture

In the wake of the 2012 drought, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources would like to remind farmers and ag industry partners alike about informational resources available regarding irrigation.

Interest in irrigation has increased due to this year’s extreme weather conditions across the state, and there are a number of codes and concepts to keep in mind while considering the installation of water distribution systems.

  • Proper registration (Indiana Code 14-25-7-15): The Water Resource Management Statute requires anyone who owns a significant water withdrawal facility (or SWWF) to register that facility on specific forms within a certain timeframe.
  • Water rights (Indiana Code 14-25-4): The Emergency Regulation Statute provides protection to owners of smaller water wells against the impacts of high capacity ground-water pumpage if it substantially lowers water levels, resulting in the failure of a small capacity well.
  • License requirements (Indiana Code 25-39): The Water Well Driller and Pump Installer Statute mandates a person who installs water wells or repairs or installs water well pumping equipment must be licensed as such in the Indiana, and water wells must be constructed according to specific rules.
  • Provisions to protect the Great Lakes Basin (Indiana Code 14-25-15): The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact is an agreement between eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces to regulate diversion of water from the Great Lakes Basin. It outlines specific water withdrawal guidelines, including new permissions that became effective in November 2011.

The above statutes and codes, plus a list of Indiana licensed water well drillers and pump installers, registered withdrawal facilities and water use data is all available at www.in.gov/dnr/water/. Additional resources related to the 2012 drought are available on the ISDA website (www.in.gov/isda) on its “Drought Information” page.

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