[r51] Dodge's Column (12/1/2009)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Start Date: 12/1/2009 All Day
End Date: 12/1/2009

During the interim, I served as a member of the House Water Resources Study Committee. Since House District 51 has a plethora of lakes, all of which I am familiar with since I have lived here my entire life, I am very knowledgeable of natural water. So it pleased me to be appointed to this committee because I understand how important and necessary it is to protect our lakes, rivers and streams.

Our committee duty was to study and make recommendations concerning all matters relating to surface and ground water resources in Indiana. We studied everything from how our state uses the water to how we maintain the quality.

The House Water Resources Study Committee had three extensive meetings with testimony heard from different Hoosier citizens and advocacy groups. Listening to the concerns and ideas these people and organizations had was extremely helpful to me when making recommendations to the state's General Assembly.

Issues the committee discussed at large were as follows: log jam removal, residential irrigation systems, well drilling, ground water preservation, municipal water usage ordinances, well abandonment, well pump installation, water shortages, drainage and flooding.

After conducting all the research and hearing all the testimony, the committee decided to have local authorities arbitrate water resource disputes. For example, if there is a log jam or a drainage problem, there will be a designated person in the county who will be given the ability and resources to diffuse conflicts before the courts get involved.

It was also recommended that local police be granted enforcement authority to settle water disputes.  This will be very helpful when one person is refusing to follow the law. Instead of getting the Department of Natural Resources conservation officers involved, the local municipal police can settle the disputes.

I believe having someone local to handle water resource issues is a great idea. It will really speed up the process and this person will have a strong understanding of the area.

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