Watershed Protection and Drinking Water

Out of 4150 public water supply systems in Indiana, 61 use surface water (lakes, rivers, or reservoirs) to provide safe, clean drinking water to their customers. Although a small proportion of total systems, many of Indiana's largest cities are among them including Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Gary, Evansville, Muncie, Kokomo, and Bloomington.

A survey conducted in 1998 and 1999 of most of these public water supply systems found that the greatest threat to water quality comes from nonpoint source pollution such as sediment and pesticides. Protecting the water supply for these systems therefore means protecting the entire watershed.

To help communities start developing watershed protection plans, we have developed maps of all Indiana public water supply watersheds except those that use Lake Michigan or the Ohio River.
From these watershed maps we use GIS-based information to calculate watershed size and land use for each water supply system. Information on the water body used and population that drinks the water can provide more information on the system you may be interested in.

Community water supplies that use surface water can benefit by developing a watershed protection plan to protect their water supply from current and future contamination. Unlike those that use ground water, communities using surface water are not required to develop a water quality protection plan by Indiana law, but they can still benefit from planning and education.

For more information contact Jane Frankenberger (frankenb@purdue.edu)
or Brent Ladd (laddb@purdue.edu)
or call the Purdue Extension Safe Water office at 765-496-6331

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