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Goal of Benton County meeting was preparing residents for irrigation

By Rachel Schrage, Public Relations Team

Before irrigation came to Benton County, the Benton County Farm Bureau hosted a meeting for community members outlining rules for water use, liability of operations using irrigation systems and laws that are in place to protect homeowners from losses caused those irrigation systems.

Under Indiana law, small-capacity well users are protected from significant groundwater withdrawal facilities, which are defined as facilities or users that have the ability to pump 100,000 gallons of groundwater per day. If high-capacity pumping has lowered the water level in a small-capacity well so much that it affects the ability of the well to supply adequate water, the high-capacity owner can be held liable and may be required to provide those affected with an alternate water supply.

Attendees were encouraged to be proactive and have their wells measured, a free service offered by Indiana DNR, to get a baseline level before irrigation began.

“Because there was no irrigation in Benton County, we needed to find out if we could maintain a system,” said Lana Wallpe, president of Benton County Farm Bureau. “Being a farmer, I see the benefits of irrigation, but we also have to be good stewards of water resources; we don’t want to deplete the water supply.”

The county’s state representative, several local government officials, Benton County Farm Bureau members and non-members attended the meeting. Two new members were signed as a result of the meeting.

The county was one of nine counties that earned an Impact Award from Indiana Farm Bureau for its effort to inform and engage members and non-members alike. The award, which is presented annually at IFB’s state convention, recognizes counties for efforts that resulted in a significant impact or an increase in political influence and clout.

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