(A) The director of natural resources may appropriate real property in accordance with Chapter 163. of the Revised Code for the purpose of administering this chapter.
(1) The director shall operate and maintain all canals and canal reservoirs owned by the state except those canals that are operated by the Ohio history connection on July 1, 1989.
(2) On behalf of the director, the division of parks and recreation shall have the care and control of all canals and canal reservoirs owned by the state, the water in them, and canal lands and shall protect, operate, and maintain them and keep them in repair. The chief of the division of parks and recreation may remove obstructions from or on them and shall make any alterations or changes in or to them and construct any feeders, dikes, reservoirs, dams, locks, or other works, devices, or improvements in or on them that are necessary in the discharge of the chief's duties.
In accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, the chief may adopt, amend, and rescind rules that are necessary for the administration of this division.
(C) The director may sell or lease water from any canal or canal reservoir that the director operates and maintains only to the extent that the water is in excess of the quantity that is required for navigation, recreation, and wildlife purposes. With the approval of the director, the chief may adopt, amend, and rescind rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code necessary to administer this division.
The withdrawal of water from any canal or canal reservoir for domestic use is exempt from this division. However, the director may require water conservation measures for water that is withdrawn from any canal or canal reservoir for domestic use during drought conditions or other emergencies declared by the governor.
(D) No person shall take or divert water from any canal or canal reservoir operated and maintained by the director except in accordance with division (C) of this section.
(E) At the request of the director, the attorney general may commence a civil action for civil penalties and injunctions, in a court of common pleas, against any person who has violated or is violating division (D) of this section. The court of common pleas in which an action for injunctive relief is filed has jurisdiction to and shall grant preliminary and permanent injunctive relief upon a showing that the person against whom the action is brought has violated or is violating that division.
Upon a finding of a violation, the court shall assess a civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars for each day of each violation if the violator is an individual who took or diverted the water in question for residential or agricultural use. The court shall assess a civil penalty of not more than five thousand dollars for each day of each violation if the violator is any other person who took or diverted the water in question for industrial or commercial use excluding agricultural use. Moneys from civil penalties assessed under this division shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the canal lands fund created in section 1520.05 of the Revised Code.
Any action under this division is a civil action, governed by the rules of civil procedure and other rules of practice and procedure applicable to civil actions.
(F) As used in this section, "person" means any agency of this state, any political subdivision of this state or of the United States, or any legal entity defined as a person under section 1.59 of the Revised Code.
Amended by 131st General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 141, §1, eff. 9/29/2015.
Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.
Effective Date: 03-18-1999; 04-06-2007