Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

January 16, 2013

Who owns the underground water?

BATESVILLE — One of Franklin County’s greatest assets is hidden underground.

The Whitewater River Basin aquifer roughly follows the river’s path, encompassing 1,330 square miles in 10 southeastern Indiana counties and 145 square miles in Ohio, Greg Dole, Hoosier Hills Regional Water District president, said Jan. 9.

The aquifer is about 100 feet deep and hundreds of feet wide, with water flowing from north to south at the rate of one meter per hour.

The water source extends from Fayette, Union and Wayne counties through Franklin and into Dearborn and Ohio counties, where it mixes with the Great Miami River aquifer.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that the aquifer contains between 50-90 million gallons of unused water daily. The engineers determined in a study years ago that the water layer “can continuously regenerate itself, even during drought,” he explained.

“It’s a fairly large aquifer with a lot of people drawing off of it.”

In Franklin County, four rural water companies – Franklin County, Tri-Township, North Dearborn and HHRWD – pump a maximum of around 3-4 million gallons daily in the summer from the aquifer. Some of the water travels through lines for use outside of the county by the last three.

The president said his district, a nonprofit corporation founded in 1965 that receives no government funding, is owned by members from Franklin, Ripley and Dearborn counties. In Franklin County, “we supply Metamora all the way back to Penntown.” Outside of the county, the district’s only other water comes from a small groundwater source that provides the resource to the Dillsboro area.

Dole noted that rural water districts do not operate within county boundaries. “Parts of Franklin County are being covered with Ripley County water.” For instance, the Napoleon Rural Water Corp. takes care of Hamburg users and Batesville Water and Gas Utility provides water to Oldenburg residents. “It’s kind of a trade-off. It’s more of a regional thing. We don’t compete with each other. We have territories and stay in our territories.”

The current practice doesn’t sit well with Franklin County Commissioners, who are scrambling to find other revenue sources. “The commissioners’ thoughts are to put some type of a user fee on water coming out of wells and leaving the county,” reported Commissioner Tom Linkel after a Dec. 10 meeting on the subject.

“There will probably be a legislative battle,” he predicted. “Maybe some (state) laws will have to be changed.” They want an answer to this basic question: “Who does the water belong to? ... As far as we know, we may be the first that’s trying this.”

Linkel doesn’t believe it’s fair the water districts don’t pay for the water they are exporting, He said, “We need more money for our roads and bridges.”

Dole thinks the commissioners are facing an uphill battle. If, however, Franklin County does start collecting water users’ fees, his district would pass costs on “to every customer. I don’t think there’s a legal precedent for it. I think they’d be the first in the nation.

“I understand their plight, but they’d be taxing their own people.”

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Two of three Belterra requests delayed Two of three Belterra requests delayed Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune

    April 25, 2014

  • nws - bv042514 - FC sheriff Roberts, John Sheriff candidates discuss the issues Before they cast ballots in the May 6 primary, Franklin County Republicans have three sheriff contenders to consider. If elected, what key issues would they like to tackle? Incumbent Sheriff Kenneth Murphy vows to continue and expand two programs he

    April 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • nws - bv042514 - BCSC Wordwright Property taxes, lunch prices rising Two decisions made by Batesville Community School Corp. trustees April 21 will impact taxpayers' and school families' wallets. They decided to move ahead with at most $2 million in mechanical renovations at Batesville Primary School, built in 1990. T

    April 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Festival celebrates woodworking history Sawdust Days, a new festival in Batesville, will make its debut Friday-Saturday, May 2-3, reports Mike Kruse, who is co-chairing the event along with Nikki Hutchinson. Kruse recalls how he came up with the idea. "On a six-hour drive to see our son,

    April 25, 2014

  • Fire figthers respond quickly Firefighters respond quickly

    Thanks to the quick action of area firefighters, two blazes were put out quickly April 23.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clawson in Batesville Clawson wins special primary in southwest Florida

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Armed robbery investigated

    An early morning armed robbery April 22 at K & K Mini Mart, 332 S. Meridian St., Sunman, is being investigated, according to a press release from the Ripley County Sheriff's Office.

    April 22, 2014

  • Ten submit bids for demolition of structure SUNMAN - Sunman Town Council members covered a lot of ground at their April 17 meeting. Bids for the demolition of the former Ripley-Ohio-Dearborn Special Education Cooperative building were opened. Ten contractors submitted bids, ranging from $86,95

    April 22, 2014

  • Circle these dates on summer calendar On its 41st anniversary, a new headliner will open the three-night Batesville Music and Arts Festival. "A Summer Evening in the Park" is the theme of a performance by the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra Wednesday, June 18, at 7:30 p.m. at Liberty Park. C

    April 22, 2014

  • nws - bv042214 - Bradley, Rob Three Republicans set sights on sheriff's office Three Republicans, are competing for Ripley County sheriff. They come from a variety of backgrounds, but all want to do their part to make the county safer for its citizens. Rob Bradley says, "My motivation for wanting to be sheriff has been a part

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Obama Tours Gyeongbok Palace Swimmer Michael Phelps Back in Competition Raw: Obama Lays Korean War Memorial Wreath Obama Leads Naturalization Ceremony in Seoul Calif. School Bus Crash Hurts Driver, 11 Kids Country Club for Exotic Cars Little Science Behind 'Pollen Vortex' Prediction US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents
Photo Gallery


Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Facebook