News

Sustaining Scioto Report Released: Planning for our Region's Future Water Resources 
July 28, 2015

It appears that extreme weather events are becoming more of the norm rather than the exception. Such variation to our climate can impact our region’s businesses and natural resources. With the expected future growth in Central Ohio, we must not only prepare for new demands, but sustain clean and secure water for our residents.

Sustaining Scioto, a four-year proactive, science-based study has recently been completed to ensure that our region has safe and clean water in the future. MORPC together with the US Geological Survey (USGS), the City of Columbus, Del-Co Water Company, Inc., Brown and Caldwell, and the Ohio Water Development Authority partnered in 2011 to identify risks to the region’s water resources due to climate change. The Study uses USGS watershed modeling to assess the impacts of changing weather patterns and regional development on water resources within the Upper Scioto watershed. The results along with the guidance of a Stakeholder Advisory Group, were used to develop adaptive strategies to manage water quality and quantity during extreme drought or flood.

"The data and risks identified as part of this important effort point to the need for Central Ohio's water utilities and communities to collaborate in response," said Kerstin Carr, MORPC Director of Planning & Environment. "MORPC will continue to assist its members in finding effective and efficient ways to implement the recommended adaptation strategies."

The current water-supply systems must be able to adapt to the region’s future demand for water as well as plan for the influence of climate change on water supplies in the Central Ohio region. The study area of the Upper Scioto watershed includes all or parts of the following counties: Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Pickaway, and Union.

The findings include:

• Water-use projections based on current water usage of major water utilities within the study area;

• A water inventory that calculates the current availability of water within the study area along with future estimates;

• An assessment of current water quality and potential future changes to water quality;

• A vulnerability assessment to identify risks to water resources, public health, the economy and other sectors; and

• Proposed adaptation strategies in Central Ohio that will guide efforts to address the highest priority risks.

To read the full Sustaining Scioto Report, please visit www.morpc.org/sustainingscioto .