Preventing Great Lakes water drainage

Preventing Great Lakes water drainage

HOUGHTON — The public is being asked to comment on a review of polices put in place to protect the waters of the Great Lakes.

It all started in 1998 when a company proposed shipping tankers full of water from Lake Superior to Asia. It was then realized that policies to stop such pilferage of the Great Lakes did not exist. So the eight Great Lakes States, along with the Federal and Canadian government, went along with proposals from an International Joint Commission to stop diversion and consumption of the water supply and The Great Lakes Compact was signed into law in 2009.

Professor of Environmental and Geological Engineering at Michigan Tech Doctor Alex Mayer says it would take an enormous amount of water removal before the lakes were affected, but it could happen.

“If we were to divert lots and lots and lots of water, if we were to consume lots and lots of water, we might have an affect on the Great Lakes themselves,” said Dr. Mayer. “You can imagine if we had many, many, many, many, many small new diversions they might add up to where we actually can see changes in the Great Lakes.”

It’s been ten years since the initial report and Dr. Mayer was one of the experts asked to review how those polices have worked so far.

“It’s amazing that the States and the Provinces came together around this issue,” said Mayer. “There are now mechanisms put into place to prevent diversions from occurring, from large new consumptive uses from occurring unless all of the states would agree.”

The public is welcome to comment on the draft report until June 30th. Follow this link for more information or to comment on the draft report: