Last Updated 10/25/2011
About Water Diversions
Inter-basin transfers of water larger than 100,000 gallons per day out of the Lake Erie or Ohio River basins without return have, since 1988, required a permit from the director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §1501.32. ORC Law regarding Diversion Permits. The Division of Soil & Water Resources has provided staff support to the director in administering this diversion permit program.
With the ratification of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (codified in Ohio Revised Code Chapter 1522 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/1522) in 2008, new or increased inter-basin transfers out of the Great Lakes Basin (in Ohio, out of the Lake Erie Basin) are prohibited, except for specific exceptions described in the Compact. Only transfers out of the Lake Erie Basin that qualify as exceptions to the prohibition on diversions contained in the Compact can be permitted. Transfers out of the Ohio River Basin remain subject to the permit requirements contained in Ohio Revised Code §1501.32.
Lake Erie/Ohio River Basin Diversions - State Permit Program
There have been six diversion permits issued, all for inter-basin transfers that existed prior to when the diversion permit statute took effect in 1988: two are for diversions out of the Lake Erie Basin and four are for diversions out of the Ohio River Basin.
Permitted diversions out of the Lake Erie Basin:
Rural Lorain County Water Authority City of Ravenna
Permitted diversions out of the Ohio River Basin:
City of Ravenna
Ohio & Erie Canal-Portage Lakes
Miami & Erie Canal-Grand Lake
Saint Marys Fish Hatchery
Further information about these diversions as well as the diversion permit program and application procedures can be obtained by contacting the Division of Soil & Water Resources.
Regulation of Diversions under the Compact
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact prohibited new or increased inter-basin transfers of water out of the Great Lakes Basin (in Ohio, the Lake Erie Basin), but excepted specific types of diversions under specified conditions from the prohibition. Further information about these exceptions can be obtained by contacting the Division of Soil & Water Resources.
The Compact's definition of diversion is different than that used to regulate diversions in Ohio Revised Code §1501.32, in that it includes all inter-basin transfers regardless of the quantity transferred or whether the unused portion of the transferred water is returned to the basin of origin. Therefore, some transfers out of the Lake Erie Basin not considered diversions under Ohio Revised Code §1501.32 are considered diversions under the Compact. The Compact also requires that existing transfers (those that existed prior to December 2008) be registered.
Fourteen existing diversions out of the Ohio portion of the Lake Erie Basin have been registered:
Rural Lorain County Water Authority
City of Ravenna-outside the municipal wastewater service area
City of Ravenna-within the municipal wastewater service area
City of Saint Marys
City of Bucyrus
Village of Lodi
Medina County-Northwest Water District
City of Medina
City of Akron-Akron
City of Akron-Fairlawn
City of Akron-Copley, Coventry & Springfield Townships
Village of Lakemore
Village of Hartville
Rules are currently being promulgated to regulate new or increased diversions out of the Lake Erie Basin that qualify as exceptions to the Compact's prohibition on such diversions. Further information about existing diversions as well as the regulation of new or increased diversions can be obtained by contacting the Division of Soil & Water Resources.
Contacts and More Information
Further information about these diversions as well as about the procedures for initiating a Great Lakes diversion proposal can be obtained by contacting the Division of Soil & Water Resources.
To see the boundary between the Lake Erie and Ohio River Basins refer to Ohio Watersheds and Drainage Basins Maps.