Negotiators reach deal on Great Lakes
The Associated Press
Published on the Auburnpub.com on November 21, 2005
After four years of talks, negotiators have reached
a deal aimed at preventing outsiders from raiding Great
Lakes water and encouraging more efficient use of the
coveted resource within the region.
“There were many difficult issues that required compromise,
but a consensus has been reached,” said David Naftzger,
executive director of the Council of Great Lakes Governors.
The agreement was motivated largely by fears that southwest
states will try tapping into the lakes, which hold 90
percent of the nation's fresh surface water, as their
populations and political clout grow.
Governors and premiers of the eight states and two Canadian
provinces adjoining the lakes agreed in 2001 to develop
a legal framework for keeping their waters inside the
drainage basin. Staffers have been working on details
The final version has been submitted to the governors
and premiers, who are expected to sign it during a meeting
Dec. 13 in Milwaukee. State legislatures and Congress
will be asked to approve a binding compact carrying out
Because the states cannot make treaties with foreign
governments, they signed a separate, nonbinding agreement
with the provinces.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the agreement,
which would outlaw most new or increased diversions of
water - including groundwater, inland lakes and rivers
as well as the Great Lakes - from the basin.
Exceptions could be made for communities and counties
straddling the basin's boundary if they cannot meet their
needs from other sources or through conservation. Such
diversions could be only for public water supplies, and
excess water would have to be returned to the basin.