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Division of Water Resources

Buckeye Lake State Park Dam

The Division of Water Resources' mission is to ensure the wise management of Ohio's water resources.  

About the Division of Water Resources

Created as the Division of Water, and one of ODNR’s charter divisions in 1949, the division’s mission is to ensure the wise management of Ohio’s water resources.  Ohioans need to be aware of both the importance of having adequate water supplies and the public safety issues that arise from excessive rainfall.  Our priority is to continue to provide water resources information, technical assistance and regulatory guidance to citizens, businesses and government officials in the state to make appropriate water resource decisions.   

Dam Safety 

The Dam Safety Program is responsible for ensuring that life, health, and property are protected from dam and levee failures. In order to meet this responsibility, the Program conducts periodic safety inspections of all regulated dams (approximately 1400), reviews and approves necessary repairs to dams and levees, issues construction permits for new dams and levees, reviews and approves emergency action plans, takes enforcement actions against deficient dam owners, and responds to dam and levee emergencies as necessary.

Floodplain Management 

Flooding is the most prevalent natural hazard in Ohio and the United States. To reduce the risk of flood damage, the Floodplain Management Program works with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and 751 Ohio municipalities and counties to implement the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) statewide. Community participation in the NFIP makes federal flood insurance and additional forms of disaster assistance available to residents.

The Floodplain Management Program provides technical guidance and assistance to communities, agencies, and citizens by ensuring NFIP compliance, evaluating local floodplain management programs, and recommending improvement measures. The program also provides various training opportunities, coordinates with FEMA on flood hazard mapping initiatives, assists with Community Rating System (CRS) participation, and organizes the annual Statewide Floodplain Management Conference.

Water Inventory & Planning 

The Water Inventory and Planning Program is responsible for implementing and enforcing Ohio’s rules, regulations, and contracts related to water supply and water resource development. This is accomplished by executing and administering contracts for the sale of state-owned water stored in federal, state and local reservoirs; registering large capacity water users; and collecting, compiling and disseminating water use data for water resources development, planning and management.  The program is also responsible for water withdrawal and consumptive use permitting, and for implementing the provisions of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (Great Lakes Compact) and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement.


The H2Ohio program is Governor Mike DeWine’s initiative to ensure safe and clean water for all Ohioans. It is a comprehensive, data-driven approach to improving water quality over the long term. H2Ohio focuses specifically on reducing phosphorus, creating wetlands, addressing failing septic systems and preventing lead contamination.