For interviews, contact: Jim Samuel, OWP Executive Director, 614-354-8458, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ohio Water Partnership (OWP) held its first full membership meeting on October 13, 2021, to discuss the positive impact on funding for water quality in the state of Ohio. The members also discussed the importance of the involvement of the business community in advancing water policy reforms in the state of Ohio. The meeting was attended by Ohio Water Partnership member businesses, major business associations, environmental leaders, state policy makers and members of the Ohio legislature.
“Here in Ohio we are very fortunate to live in a water rich state but we can no longer afford to take that for granted,” said Ronn Richard, President & CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. “The OWP is a wonderful example of emerging collaboration across a broad range of stakeholders. The Cleveland Foundation has been really proud to support this effort along with the Joyce Foundation and The George Gund Foundation.”
The meeting attendees also heard from Laurie Stevenson, Director of the Ohio EPA, who spoke about the future of the H2Ohio program.
“The Ohio EPA, ODNR, ODA and OLEC appreciate the opportunity to share our progress on Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative. We’ve accomplished much over the past two years and recognize the important contribution of many partners, such as the Ohio Water Partnership, in meeting a shared goal of water quality improvements that benefit Ohioans,” Stevenson said.
State Senator George Lang, discussed the intersection of access to water and business recovery and growth in Ohio.
“The objectives of the Business First Caucus and the Ohio Water Partnership closely align in that we are each evaluating policies that support economic development in Ohio, in order to make Ohio the most competitive place to do business in the country,” Sen. Lang said.
A core focus of the Ohio Water Partnership is to support and advance policies that improve the state’s water and sewer infrastructure. Ohio Water Partnership was a proponent of increased funding to H2Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine’s comprehensive, data-driven water quality plan to reduce harmful algal blooms, improve wastewater infrastructure, and prevent lead contamination.
Another core focus of Ohio Water Partnership is to highlight the correlation between economic development and economic viability in Ohio to the strength of Ohio’s water infrastructure and environmental health of Ohio waterways.
Publicly launched in April 2021, the Ohio Water Partnership has grown to more than 70 members, representing manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, travel & tourism, hospitality and restaurants that care about the future of water quality in Ohio.
“One thing that many fail to realize is that everything that we promote in our cities doesn’t survive without clean, safe water. The restaurants, hotels, convention centers, attractions and my favorite, breweries, and distilleries…. water is a necessity for all these entities. It touches all sectors, and our local, national, and global economies depend on it,” says Dan Willamson, Vice President of Sales with Experience Columbus, and a board member of the Ohio Water Partnership.
In 2022, Ohio Water Partnership will continue to grow its membership and is focused on long term funding mechanisms for water policy in Ohio.
“Access to water is a distinct advantage for businesses to locate and grow in Ohio and that must be protected for generations to come,” said Jim Samuel, Ohio Water Partnership Executive Director. “The Ohio Water Partnership is here to promote good water policy because in Ohio, water means business.”