Agreement would ban Great Lakes diversions
Posted on CTV.ca on November 23, 2005
OTTAWA — A draft deal among Great Lakes states and provinces
would ban large-scale diversions from the lakes but permit
withdrawals by the bottled-water industry and for other
The complex deal would allow for projects that withdraw
up to 19 million litres of water a day at the discretion
of the jurisdiction.
The deal, released Wednesday, would also allow the export
of water in containers of up 25.9 litres, which critics
say clears the way for major water exports in the form
of bottled water.
"The current deal claims to protect the Great Lakes
from the threats and impacts of diversions while allowing
large withdrawals to continue," said Susan Howatt,
national water campaigner with the Council of Canadians.
She said the deal would severely weaken Canadian sovereignty
over the lakes, noting that Ontario and Quebec are outnumbered
by the eight Great Lakes states.
Howatt said protection of the Great Lakes should be regulated
by the International Joint Commission, a binational agency
in which Canada and the United States are equally represented.
But many environmental groups support the deal.
Mary Muter of the Georgian Bay Association said it is
preferable to deal with the issue at the state-provincial
level because the Great Lakes governors have a greater
interest in protecting the lakes than the U.S. federal
Muter said pressure for Great Lakes diversions will grow
in the future as political power in the United States
shifts to thirsty southern states, and it is therefore
wise to act now. She said she is supporting the deal while
holding her nose.
The agreement must still be passed by legislatures in
the eight states and provinces.