Ind. Code 36-7-XX-X Regional Water Management Planning Groups
Sec. 1. The legislature finds that appropriate stewardship of state waters requires among other things, active planning and management of water resources, and that regional planning and management of water resources is a vital part of Indiana’s water stewardship effort.
Sec. 2. In order to gather and analyze information about water resources and their use, and to help establish sustainable, productive, and equitable management and use of water resources in Indiana, water planning regions are hereby established for each of the regions in Indiana defined in section 3 of this chapter.
Sec 3. [Definition of Water Planning Regions]
Sec 4. Establishment of Regional Water Management Groups
a. In each water planning region, a Regional Water Management Group shall be established.
1. The governor, in consultation with elected officials from each city, town, and county in each water planning region, shall appoint ten members to each Regional Water Management Group. No more than six members shall be affiliated with any one political party. Each member shall be a resident of the water planning region of which he or she is appointed a member of the Regional Water Management Group.
2. The members shall serve three year terms, except that one third of the initially appointed members shall serve one year terms, and one third shall serve two year terms.
3. Members representing each of the following water interests shall be included among those appointed.
i. Drinking water and domestic use.
ii. Local government.
iii. Natural values, fish and wildlife, and ecology.
iv. Recreational use.
v. Industrial use.
vi. Use in electric power production.
viiii. Public health.
ix. Drainage and stormwater management
4. Members of the Regional Water Management Groups shall serve without salary but may be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
5. If a vacancy occurs by resignation or otherwise, the governor shall appoint a member for the unexpired term.
Sec. 5. Powers and Duties
a. Each Regional Water Management Group shall fix the time and place for holding regular meetings, but it shall meet at least quarterly and at such other times as may be established by the commission or the executive board. It shall provide quarterly notice in advance of its meeting schedule to the public, the [Indiana Water Authority] and other appropriate state agencies, the appropriate regional office of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the appropriate regional office of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
b. Each Regional Water Management Group shall adopt rules for the transaction of business and shall keep a record of its resolutions, transactions, findings, and determinations, which is a public record.
c. A majority of members constitutes a quorum.
d. Working cooperatively with state, local, and national agencies, the Regional Water Management Group will:
1. gather and analyze regional water resources and uses, develop regional water plans that to the greatest extent possible sustainably serve all of the water needs and interests of the region without compromising the needs of other regions or the future.
2. Working with the units within its Region, the Regional Water Management Group will administer funds it is provided by local government, state appropriations, grants and gifts so as to help carry out the plans it has established, as well as to adapt and adjust the plan to changing conditions, complete water infrastructure improvements addressing both built and natural water infrastructure, reduce flood damage with ecologically sound projects, address adjustments in water use required in conditions of drought.
e. The Regional Water Management Groups, in addition to the specific powers here established:
i. shall generally have all powers necessary and appropriate to the achievement of their purposes except those specifically withheld in this article or those exclusively granted to other governmental units.
ii. shall coordinate its activities with all units in the region and shall coordinate with other regions and the state.
iii. may accept public and private grants-in-aid and may enter into agreements or contracts regarding the acceptance or use of those grants and appropriations for the purpose of carrying out any of its purposes and duties.
iv. may acquire by grant, gift, purchase, lease, devise, or otherwise and hold, use, improve, maintain, operate, own, manage, or lease (as lessor or lessee) such real or personal property as necessary for its purposes and duties.
v. may employ staff and delegate appropriate opperating authority to employees, retaining feduciary responsibility and policy-making authority.
vi. may provide administrative, management, or technical services to a unit that requests the services.
Sec. 6. [FUNDING]
Amendments to Drainage Code
Proposed amendments underlined in italics
1. Amend Ind. Code §36-9-27-2 After definition of “Tiled drain” and before definition of “Urban land” as follows: “Undesirable environmental effects” includes but is not limited to transport of nutrients, agricultural chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides; soil erosion; failure to store water when storage might be useful: or facilitation of flood conditions downstream when not necessary to achieve drainage objectives.
2. Amend Ind. Code §36-9-27-34 (Classification of Drains by County Surveyor) as follows:
(b) A regulated drain is in need of reconstruction when:
(1) it will not perform the function for which it was designed and constructed; or it could be reconstructed to perform the function for which it was designed and constructed with significantly reduced undesirable environmental effects at reasonable cost.
(c) A regulated drain is in need of periodic maintenance when, with or without the use of mechanical equipment, it can be made to perform the function for which it was designed and constructed, and to properly drain all affected land under current conditions, or to properly drain affected land with fewer undesirable environmental effects at reasonable cost, by periodically:
(4) making minor repairs, additions, or alterations to it.
3. Amend Ind. Code §36-9-27-45 as follows:
45. A maintenance fund established under Sec. 44 of this chapter is subject to the use of the board for the necessary or proper repair, maintenance, study, or evaluation of the particular drain or combination of drains, or to fund in whole or in part, work to reduce undesirable environmental effects, drainage control, or drainage water storage infrastructure or technology for private or mutual drainage systems that flow into a regulated drain, which may be done whenever the board, based upon the recommendation of the county surveyor, finds that it is necessary or appropriate. The payment for all such maintenance work shall be made out of the appropriate maintenance fund. However, if: ….
4. Amend Ind. Code §36-9-27-49 as follows:
(a) When the board refers a regulated drain to the county surveyor for a reconstruction report, the surveyor shall determine and set forth in his report the best and cheapest method of reconstructing the drain so that it will adequately drain all affected land. The “best” means the method that will result in a drain that performs drainage functions well while limiting undesirable environmental effects to the greatest degree reasonable and cost-effective.
5. Amend Ind. Code §36-9-27-61(5) as follows:
(5) Determine the best (as defined in Sec. 49 of this chapter) and cheapest method of drainage, which may be by... (A)-(H).