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Great Lakes Article:

Tentative deal for Great Lakes water use
CBC News, Ottawa
Published April 11, 2005

TORONTO Ontario and several American states are close to an agreement that would ban any significant diversion of water out of the Great Lakes.

Officials worked out what could be the final details in meetings last week in Toronto.

Ontario Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay had rejected a proposal last fall that he said would have sent too much Great Lakes water to areas outside of their watershed.

Ramsay said then that Ontario wanted a "no net loss" provision, to ensure that the water taken out of the lakes only gets used in communities that ultimately drain back into them.

Although he now describes himself as "very positive" about the tentative deal, he isn't providing details.

"I believe the neighbouring American states have recognized the concern that I put forward a few months back," Ramsay said.

"They've really stepped up to the plate, and I am very pleased with where we're at."

The next steps for any agreement include a meeting in Niagara Falls on Monday to present the deal to First Nations representatives.

"We're meeting with our First Nations and U.S. tribes, sharing the progress we've made and obtaining their input about what they think about where we are," Ramsay said.

The draft proposal could be released for public consultations next month, with a final agreement signed by the late summer.

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