Healthy Water Ohio (HwO) has been busy gathering input from groups and individuals about the present and future needs of the state’s water resources. More than a year ago, Ohio Farm Bureau started work on the initiative. The goal is to develop a 20- to 30-year plan to sustainably meet water needs while enhancing the economy and quality of life for all Ohioans.
So far, more than 150 stakeholders from conservation, business and industry, universities, water suppliers, agriculture and others have provided input. A survey of 1,000 voters also was conducted to identify what water issues are of concern to Ohioans. The statewide survey, which happened partly during the Toledo water crisis, put water issues low on the scale of things that respondents were worried about, including the economy, education, crime and roads and bridges. However, safe drinking water was ranked the top environmental concern.
HwO recently completed five regional meetings with participants discussing these five topics:
- Vision: What are some broad objectives you have with regard to water in Ohio?
- Challenges: What are the greatest challenges/threats to Ohio’s future water needs?
- Solutions: What water resource solutions (policies, programs, projects) would you like to see as part of this integrated strategy?
- Education: Is there enough access to water resource information and how can education and outreach be improved?
- Funding: What are some new and innovative funding opportunities that can be used to implement this long-term water strategy?
The 16-member steering committee will continue to meet over the winter and hold more sessions with water resource experts. The final report is expected to be released this summer.
Learn more about Healthy Water Ohio and the survey results at healthywaterohio.org