In an effort that appears to have flown completely under the radar, the US Army Corps of Engineers (ASACE) — the owners of our only water supply, Monroe Lake — is in the process of updating the Monroe Lake Master Plan. This is the first master plan update since 1967!
The USACE has hired the engineering firm Woolpert to produce the master plan. I’m attaching the draft plan, as of December 3: MLMP December 3, 2015. Woolpert is contracted to deliver a revised draft of the master plan on January 15, 2016, which will incorporate the public comment received during the planning process.
In order to receive public input, the USACE has an open house planned for December 15 (tomorrow) from 3-7PM in the conference room at the Middle Wabash Area Office at Monroe Lake at 1620 East Monroe Dam Ct. The public will be able to view the planning efforts so far and make input to the plan.
Overall, the draft master plan appears pretty complementary to the needs of our residents in Monroe County. The draft plan is long, but the most salient section is 5.0 Resource Use Objectives. In short, the objectives are:
5.1 Flood Control
5.2 Water Supply for the City of Bloomington
5.3 Provide Low Water Augmentation to Salt Creek Drainage Area
5.4 Provide Opportunities for Recreational Use of Land and Water
5.5 Protect and Preserve Natural Resources and Habitats
These objectives seem to preclude (or at least prejudice) a water claim from Indianapolis. I’m also glad to see the “Water Supply for the City of Bloomington” objective listed above the “Provide Opportunities for Recreational Use of Land and Water” objective, even though there is no explicit ranking among the objectives.
However, there WAS one line that opened my eyes, on page 3-3:
“The city of Bloomington withdraws an average of 15 million gallons per day through the Monroe Water Treatment Plant from Monroe Lake. This withdrawal can increase to as much as 23 million gallons per day during warmer months (Bloomington, Lake Monroe). Eight rural water companies (Jones, Diagnostic Study) account for additional water draws from the reservoir. Indianapolis reserves the right to withdraw water in the future, but currently does not do so. [emphasis mine]”
The plan does not elaborate. It does not specify under what authority Indianapolis reserves a right to withdraw water, and it does not specify any process or legal authority for adjudicating any claim if and when Indianapolis might assert one.
I plan to be there, and I hope others who want to make sure that our community’s interests in Monroe Lake are included in this plan. I will also report back on additional means through which to provide public input as soon as I learn more tomorrow.