Mayor Michael Collins of Toledo, Ohio, appeared before Congress to talk about seemingly deteriorating water quality in the U.S, according to a report. The mayor’s testimony before the Senate Agricultural Committee followed an incident in August this year when people in Ohio received fouled water. About 400,000 in Ohio and Michigan areas were affected. The problem was traced to toxic algae in Lake Erie.

Collins wants the U.S. federal government and the government of Canada to increase efforts aimed at improving the quality of water in America’s rivers and lakes. The mayor warned that continued neglect of water conservation issues in the Americas could lead to more and greater problems in the future. According to Collins, the water quality issue that affected his city in August was an international problem that needed full attention of the U.S. and Canada.

The Detroit River, which forms the border between the U.S. and Canada, supplies over 80% of Lake Erie water. That explains the need for joint efforts in addressing the water quality problem.

The water quality issue that struck the residents of Ohio and Michigan not only brought to the fore the expanding algae problem in Lake Erie, but also the deteriorating water treatment system in the regions. According to the mayor, paying lip service to the problem will only lead to repeat water quality problems in the already affected regions and beyond.

One of the strategies that the mayor called for was allocating more funding for research focused on water conservation. The Environment and Protection Agency also need to address the use of fertilizer in farms, because such practice has also been cited as aiding algae bloom in Lake Erie.

In Ohio, lawmakers are already making efforts to address water quality in the region. Some of the issues being addressed include curbing the use of manure on saturated fields. However, the input of the federal government is needed to expand water quality efforts in many other places across the U.S. Ohio requires $13 million in the form of federal grant to support water conservation efforts. The financial request to the Agriculture Department is currently under review.

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