Ohio Governor Mike DeWine outlined his H2Ohio water quality initiative, which he is introducing as part of his proposed budget for the 2020-2021 biennium.
“Water is vital to everyone, yet communities throughout the state face real and different challenges, such as algae blooms, failing septic tanks, nutrient pollution, and threats of lead contamination,” Governor DeWine said. “We cannot continue to lurch from water crisis to water crisis. I am proposing an H2Ohio initiative that would allow us to invest in targeted, long-term solutions to ensure safe and clean water across the state of Ohio.”
During an event in Toledo, Governor DeWine announced that his proposal would create a special H2Ohio Fund that would be used to protect Ohio’s water quality over 10 years and could amount to approximately $900 million.
“Rather than borrowing to pay to fix our water problems, we want to create a special account, where we can deposit funds to be used specifically for water quality across Ohio,” Gov. DeWine said. “We believe that this is a responsible approach to address a critically important issue.”
H2Ohio funding would be used for water programs across the state, including for Lake Erie and other rivers, lakes, and waterways in Ohio, for efforts such as:
- Prevention and land-based management programs, such as funding efforts to minimize the introduction of nutrients and other runoff into Ohio waterways, additional staffing at soil and water conservation districts, and more aggressive action to address failing septic systems and other water treatment needs across Ohio.
- Water-based restoration programs, such as the creation of more wetlands in targeted areas to naturally filter out nutrients and sediment and utilizing emerging technologies to minimize water quality problems and treat polluted water.
- Science, research, and measurement, such as supporting ongoing research and data collection to advise on metrics and measurable goals, and to stay updated on and utilize new prevention and treatment technologies.
“We are so excited to be a part of it,” said Dorothy Pelanda, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “This is going to provide resources to every county in Ohio and we’ve been working hard with ODNR and EPA to consider what farmers need most across the state in terms of help from our state to move forward with their own initiatives to help with water quality.”
The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation is supportive of the effort.
“The Governor’s approach to water quality is refreshing for Ohio agriculture,” said Adam Sharp, OFBF executive vice president. “The H2Ohio initiative and its extensive resources shows an understanding of the complexities that come with this issue. This funding is a great example of how this governor is fully committed to work with farmers throughout the state toward the common goal of clean water. We look forward to working with the administration as the initiative moves forward.”