Scientists investigating present and future water resources in Illinois find a wealth of data through the Illinois Water Inventory Program (IWIP) at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS).
For more than 40 years, the state-sponsored program has collected data from users of high-capacity intakes and wells in Illinois rated to pump more than 70 gallons per minute. Once voluntary, annual reporting became mandatory in 2010, based on an amendment in the Water Use Act of 1983.
Since 2015, ag irrigators of high-capacity wells are also required to report their water usage each year. IWIP collaborates with the Illinois Farm Bureau to educate irrigators about the mandate and to compile data for the program.
Although reporting is required under the Illinois Water Use Act, ISWS is not a regulatory agency. ISWS uses the information to inform research related to water supply planning and estimating future water needs, according to IWIP coordinator Conor Healy.
“Through IWIP, we provide better science and better services to researchers seeking information,” Healy said.
Recently, ISWS scientists have used the aggregated data for groundwater resource analyses for cities and regions in Illinois. Water supplies are especially at risk in Northeast Illinois, for example, and groundwater modeling helps to forecast the adequacy of water supplies for the next 20 to 30 years.
The program also assists the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and other state organizations in informing state water planning decisions and identifying areas where water resources are most vulnerable.
Until about 2014, participants in the IWIP program were sent a paper form to fill out annually for reporting their water use. This required ISWS staff to enter data from handwritten forms, which was time consuming and prone to errors.
Now high-capacity water users can submit their water use via the web, using IWIP’s online reporting tool, which make it simple to enter water withdrawal and purchased water information. Staff are available to provide support to participants, conduct analyses on the data, and answer requests for information.
The IWIP website explains the logistics of reporting and data uses and provides contact information.
For more information contact Conor Healy, 217-244-9674, firstname.lastname@example.org