TOLEDO — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine outlined a H2Ohio water quality initiative March 14 during an event in Toledo. He is introducing the initiative as part of his proposed budget for the 2020-2021 biennium.
“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,” said DeWine.
DeWine said 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,” DeWine said. “We believe that this is a responsible approach to address a critically important issue.”
Programs across the state
H2Ohio funding would be used for water programs across the state, including for Lake Erie and other rivers, lakes, and waterways in Ohio.
The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation said the governor’s action is “refreshing” and praiseworthy.
“The governor’s approach to water quality is refreshing for Ohio agriculture,” said executive Vice President Adam Sharp. “The H2Ohio initiative and its extensive resources shows an understanding of the complexities that come with this issue.”
The funding would support three main efforts:
- 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.
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