For the first time in nearly 60 years, central Indiana is getting a new reservoir less than a quarter-mile away from Geist Reservoir.
Citizens Energy Group is hard at work on the “Citizens Reservoir Project,” turning the current Irving Materials Inc. limestone plant just south of 113th Street and Olio Road into a fully functioning water storage reservoir.
Dan Considine, spokesperson for Citizens Energy, says the group purchased the property two years ago and expect the stone excavations to finish in late 2019. He says the quarry has been in operation since 1956, and crews have dug 250 feet into the earth on the 88-acre plot. That’s perfect for the city’s newest reservoir, he said.
“It’s quite a simple solution to a really important issue,” said Considine. “We’re essentially going to let a very large quarry fill with water, and we’re going to build some pumps that will pump it into Geist, and it’ll flow downstream over the dam and into our treatment plant.”
Considine says 60 percent of the water supply for Indianapolis comes from the Central Canal channel, fueled by Fall Creek and the White River. If problems arose in Central Canal or if Indianapolis experienced a serious drought, the city’s water supply would take a noticeable hit.
Building an additional reservoir costs around $500 million, Considine says, but simply filling an out-of-use quarry and building pumps will cost from $20 million to $30 million.
“It’s a really great cost-effective way to ensure water supply for Indianapolis,” he said. “We’re not on Lake Michigan. We’re not on Lake Erie. We’re not on the Ohio River … We really have to be smart and really plan well to make sure this area has the water it needs for economic growth and population growth.”
When the quarry is full, Considine says it’ll hold about 3.5 billion gallons — half of what Geist Reservoir currently holds, but with a much smaller footprint.
However, that capacity means locals won’t be able to enjoy a day out on Citizens Reservoir. It will be fenced in with no boating, swimming or fishing allowed.
“It wouldn’t be advisable to have a house with a dock, where at the end of the dock, your water is 250 feet deep,” Considine says. “That wouldn’t be wise.”
The reservoir is expected to be complete by 2020.