Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2013IN358B

Multi-Year Assessment of Water Use and Reuse in the Wabash River Watershed

Institute: Indiana
Year Established: 2013 Start Date: 2013-03-01 End Date: 2014-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $7,500 Total Non-Federal Funds: $21,791

Principal Investigators: Loring Nies, Chad Jafvert

Abstract: The management of water resources is a critical function to sustain food production, manufacturing, energy production, potable water production, recreation, and landscape beneficial uses, including maintaining species diversity. Every sector of the economy is dependent upon access to water. Vast amounts of data are collected by numerous agencies without coordination, integration or organization of the many heterogeneous data sets such that sophisticated high performance data analysis and resource management is not possible. The untapped potential for increased economic development and improved environmental stewardship achievable by application of modern information management tools is enormous. Because these data are archived in discrete heterogeneous databases maintained by State and federal agencies the capability to holistically manage critical water resources at watershed scales (e.g. the Wabash River) does not exist. By assessing current and past water use and reuse in the Wabash River Watershed, we will be able to identify how much, and for what purposes, the water resources of the basin are being used, and if there have been any temporal changes or emerging patterns over the past 5 years. We will identify characteristics of current databases and determine how to enhance access to currently available data to support watershed scale management, and recommend how to modify the acquisition and storage of water data to adapt to future information needs. Recently, the National Research Council concluded that an analysis of the current status of indirect (i.e., unplanned) water reuse is a critical need for understanding the role of water reuse in meeting fresh water demands. The implications in terms of water resources planning, human health, and freshwater ecosystems conservation are significant. We propose to complete a multi-year indirect water reuse analysis for the Wabash River Watershed by documenting both water discharges and water extractions within the watershed geographically and by specific use categories.