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Wabash River, springtime in Indiana

Source: Marsha Williamson Mohr / Getty

ATTICA, Ind. — The town of Attica in Fountain County gets its water almost exclusively from an aquifer situated below the Wabash River. Town leaders say plans by the state are putting their water supply at risk.

The LEAP industrial project anchored by Eli Lilly in Boone County is looking to build on lots of land north of Lebanon and with it bring lots of new high-paying jobs. It needs a water source and the state is looking at bringing in water from the same aquifer that feeds Attica.

“My big concern is what if wells start going dry along the Wabash Valley because of this? What’s our recourse once it’s all done,” asked Attica town councilor Larry Grant on WISH-TV. “There may be some recourse if your wells go dry, but, by then, it is too late.”

The idea by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is to pipe the water over 40 miles from Attica through Montgomery County to Boone County where it would be used by the Leap project.

The IEDC recently commissioned a study of how much water is available in the aquifer, and the preliminary findings of the study showed that the aquifer is deeper and wider than expected. It’s for this reason they feel enough water is available to be piped into Boone County.

Matt Gentry, the mayor of Lebanon, who also served on the state’s water task force, has been a key proponent of bringing the LEAP project to Boone County.

“Water is a state’s resource,” he said. “We have to make a determination as a state of how we use it appropriately, and everyday water flows by Lafayette and West Lafayette that they are not using, and it goes to Illinois, so I would rather Indiana used it and not Illinois.”

Grant said this whole thing is bringing up a glaring issue of water rights in Indiana, which he says are virtually unregulated in the state. He wants state lawmakers to step in and settle the issue.