ROCHESTER (WXXI) - Advocates for the environment are pleased the latest state budget contains a $2.5 billion investment in drinking water infrastructure and water quality protection. But more could be done to protect source water.
That's according to Dr. Lisa Cleckner, director of the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
FLI provides research and education about the Finger Lakes environment.
She says funding for water protection programs has been on the decline.
"We're kind of getting back to where we need to be. A lot of municipalities have wanted to upgrade water systems, and address water quality protection efforts, but just have not had the means to do it, at the local level," she said.
Cleckner feels the state should focus its efforts on source water protection.
She says preventive action should be taken so we don't have to treat water that contains toxins from blue green algae which is present in many lakes in the region.
"If we can prevent the harmful algal blooms from happening in the first place, that is a win for us. And what we really need to do is focus on our land use activities in preventing nutrients and pollution from our land getting into our waterways," she said.
Cleckner says we all need to be mindful of the large investment it will take to protect the infrastructure for drinking water and waste water.
Cleckner joined state Sen. Pam Helming, along with other local and state elected officials and leaders, to talk about the Clean Water Infrastructure Act and other funding for water quality included in the budget.