Watershed Management Program
A high quality water supply source allows us to provide Columbus area residents with excellent drinking water at a reasonable cost.
Our Watershed Management Section works with the Recreation and Parks Department to protect surface water supplies by jointly managing the reservoirs and adjacent land at our three drinking water reservoirs: Hoover, Griggs and O’Shaughnessy. Together, these reservoirs supply 85% of the drinking water treated and distributed daily.
The Big Walnut Creek watershed, with a land mass of 190 square miles, supplies the largest of Columbus’ reservoirs. Hoover Reservoir (photo) has 3,073 water surface acres and holds around 20 billion gallons of water. More than 500,000 people receive their drinking water from Hoover. Each year thousands of visitors enjoy the park areas and limited-horsepower boating. Fishing, rowing, sailing and disc golf are popular recreational draws as are bird-watching and family picnics.
O’Shaughnessy and Griggs Reservoirs are located within the 1,000 square mile Upper Scioto River watershed. O’Shaughnessy has a water surface area of 845 acres and a volume of nearly 5 billion gallons. Further downstream, Griggs Reservoir has a water surface area of 385 acres and a volume of around 1 billion gallons. These reservoirs provide fishing, waterskiing, and picnicking and are used by several crew teams.
Watershed Management is responsible for water quality protection and the surrounding city-owned property. Maintenance personnel ensure the park areas are accessible and service the dams and other infrastructure. Watershed Protection Specialists protect city property and preserve water quality by identifying water quality impairments and educating visitors and landowners on environmental stewardship.
The Land Stewardship Program (PDF file) provides a means of working with the more than 1,200 landowners who live adjacent to city-owned reservoir property. The program provides residents with guidance and limited management opportunities to maintain the city property along the reservoirs’ edge. Stewardship plans, developed cooperatively between the property owner and the city's Land Stewardship Coordinator, improve water quality by reducing runoff and erosion and encouraging native habitats along the shoreline.
The photos below offer a before and after comparison of a property participating in the Land Stewardship Program with the planting of deep-rooted, native wildflowers and grasses. The program offers different sets of wildflower options based on optimum growing conditions at each reservoir.
Residents and businesses located along reservoirs have a great responsibility. One of the most environmentally important areas of a watershed is the area directly adjacent to the banks of the reservoirs. Flowing surface water picks up contaminants such as motor oil, fertilizer and litter as it makes its way to the reservoir. Watershed Management staffers encourage residents and upstream farmers to protect the sensitive shorelines by maintaining a buffer of natural vegetation. View We All Live Downstream for more tips on preventing water pollution.
For more information about the Watershed Management program, please call (614) 645-1721
or e-mail Watershed Management.