ANDERSON — The spokeswoman for Heart of the River conceded Monday that there will be a need for another water source in central Indiana within the next three decades.
Sheryl Myers told local members of the AARP on Monday at the Rangeline Community Center that her reaction was disbelief when she learned of the proposed Mounds Lake reservoir in 2013.
“I didn’t know there was a water shortage,” she said. “We’re willing to concede that 30 years down the road there will be a need for another source of water.”
Myers said the proposed 2,100-acre reservoir that will extend from Anderson to near Yorktown will not hold water because of the sand and gravel lens along the length of the White River.
The concession by Heart of the River comes after the Citizens Energy Group, which provides water to Indianapolis, announced plans to build a reservoir in Fishers next to Geist Reservoir.
Citizens Energy Group officials said an additional 80 million gallons a day will be needed in central Indiana within the next 30 years.
Rob Sparks, spokesman for the Mounds Lake Reservoir, said the project has to demonstrate a need for the water resources, which will be a part of a Phase 3 feasibility study.
“We believe there is a need,” he said. “How does the reservoir fit into our future water resources will be answered in the next study.”
Myers said the original Mounds Lake Reservoir proposal was for economic development reasons and that meeting future water needs came about after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raised concerns.
“We only need water when Carmel is watering their lawns,” she said. “The peak usage is in June, July and August when people are watering their lawns.”
Myers said Citizens water has not indicated an interest in the reservoir project and hasn’t anticipated a need for the water.
“Who will buy the water and pay off the bonds?” she asked. “We don’t see a customer for the water.”
Myers said there is no need for another study because there is enough information available showing the reservoir project is not needed.
“It will cost a $1 billion at least,” Myers said.
Sparks said proponents of the reservoir are comfortable with the $440 million cost estimate, which he contends is on the high side.
“It can’t be $1 billion,” he said. “The project won’t support that cost. We believe the reservoir is the most cost effective.”
Myers said that before the reservoir project moves forward with the Phase 3 feasibility study, the state should complete a comprehensive water resources study for all of Indiana.
At one point, Myers asked for a show of hands of the 85 senior citizens in opposition to the reservoir. The majority in attendance expressed opposition to the project.
Sparks said those in support of the project have never been asked to address the group.
“Seniors can see through the hype,” Myers said. “You see through the salesmanship.”
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.