Regional planners move to protect water
By Charles M. Bartholomew
Published April 29, 2005
PORTAGE — The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning
Commission said Thursday it will help communities where
planners and developers will no longer be able to count
on the availability of water from Lake Michigan.
That includes every city and town in Lake, Porter, and
LaPorte counties, regardless of whether they are north
or south of the Great Lakes Basin divide that splits the
region, according to consultant Sarah Nerenberg.
Nerenberg said negotiations are taking place among the
eight U.S. governors and their two Canadian counterparts
that will make it more difficult to get approval for using
Lake Michigan as a source of water, even for areas in
The result will be that future development, which will
occur in the central part of the three counties, straddling
the divide, will have to depend on existing groundwater
sources and the Kankakee River to the south, she said.
The commission approved on a unanimous voice vote a Water
Resources Toolkit developed over the last 18 months with
a grant from the Joyce Foundation that will help communities
protect these sources of water for drinking and commercial
“We’ve developed this to serve communities throughout
the Great Lakes Basin,” Nerenberg said.
The kits have information and resources to assist planners
with making decisions to allow growth while maintaining
the quality of water sources.
She said 300 kits, each with a CD-ROM that can be downloaded,
are available, and another 700 will be prepared as a result
of inquiries from cities and towns throughout the Great
“This tool kit is going to get us a lot of attention,”
Porter County Surveyor Kevin Breitzke predicted.
Removal of water from the Great Lakes is controlled by
international treaty, and any diversion of water out of
the basin must be approved by the chief executives of
all 10 states and provinces.
The commission also gave voice approval to three resolutions
for the Connections 2030 Regional Transportation Plan
that had been stalled by a failure to meet goals for ozone
levels in the state air quality plan.
The resolutions add a list of state and local projects
in LaPorte County, which is covered by looser rules, to
the plan and puts 17 state and eight local Lake and Porter
County projects on hold until IDEM formulates new air
pollution standards for the current ones that expire in
NIRPC’s action preserves projects in progress in Lake
and Porter counties.
, including work on the Borman Expressway, the Toll Road,
U.S. 6, and the Gary Marina access road, subject to federal
approval of the compromise which could come as early as
July, Swanson said.
Brietzke took occasion to note Thursday’s Post-Triune
story on the American Lung Association’s unfavorable report
on the region’s air quality.
He said, “We have some good things happening I wish had
NIRPC air quality manager Reggie Korthals said the ALA’s
reports are often “alarmist” and said her agency is awaiting
the outcome of meetings between the region’s Air Quality
Steering Committee and IDEM on formulating new standards
for ozone and particulates.