WASHINGTON — Water resources shared by the United States and Canada are now protected by law under the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, an international agreement that creates a management partnership between the two countries.
States that signed onto the compact are Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
In 2005, Ontario's Premier Dalton McGuinty, Quebec Premier Jean Charest and the governors of the eight states signed a "good faith" agreement protecting the waters of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River basin. In October 2008, President George W. Bush signed the agreement into law.
The states also endorsed a companion interstate water compact that would place a virtual ban on the removal or transfer of any water out of the system. Further, this agreement would establish a common, basin-wide standard for managing the water while committing parties to create a scientific strategy for the issues facing the Great Lakes and its resources, which include fishing.
Among the issues of immediate concern on both sides of the border are the potential impacts of climate change and the cumulative effects of water use. The compact also promotes common goals and objectives basin-wide that lead to programs that will conserve water and use it more efficiently.
This international agreement is being hailed as a landmark partnership between governments. It also demonstrates that the Great Lakes are of utmost importance to all states and provinces that border this freshwater resource.
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