Water Wars: Great Lakes

House-backed compact would protect water for future generations

As human demands stress fresh water resources in the near future, the Great Lakes will become an incredibly important resource, but there are few regulations in place to protect it from getting sucked up by distant states or even foreign countries.

Until now: On Monday, the House began a debate on the Great Lakes Compact, which would protect the region from water diversion by nearly any entity other than the bordering states of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The bill, which was already passed by the Senate, enjoys wide support in the House and from the Bush administration.

“People realized that Great Lakes water is a finite resource and that death by a thousand straws is a real threat,” said Jordan Lubetkin, a spokesman for the National Wildlife Federation. “There is a perception that because the Great Lakes are so vast, they are immune from harm. That is not the case.”

Critics fear the bill doesn't go far enough, as it allows for bottled water from the Great Lakes to be shipped beyond the Great Lakes Basin. Others worry that conserving water for basin states discriminates against other parched states. But proponents argue that for the future health of the entire country, the Great Lakes should receive primary stewardship.

I'm glad future water resources will get protected, but if the impending water wars of the future come to pass, I'm still going to look on the bright side: Maybe I'll get to be an Ice Pirate.

— Ted Alvarez

Ban Near on Diverting Water From Great Lakes (NY Times)

Via The Goat