The last question raised at the September 17th Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore’s discussion on Glocal Water had to do with the long-term viability of the 2008 Great Lakes Compact. The agreement among the eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces was designed to restrict water use outside the Great Lakes basin. During the discussion, I mentioned Peter Annin and his book, The Great Lakes Water Wars.
In Thursday’s Crain’s Chicago Business, Hugh Dellios interviews Annin on the Compact. The author discusses the Chicago diversion of 2.1 billion gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan and the rare opportunities that diversion provides to Chicago and the state of Illinois. Annin does not see such a diversion happening again, pointing to the strength of the Compact, an agreement that was “lawyered to death.” However, he expresses concern about climate change and the effects the “ferocity and the frequency of large storm events” are having on water infrastructure and the water quality of the Great Lakes. We will need to “squeeze efficiency out of every last drop” of water, even in a water-rich region like ours, he says.
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