Home | Great Lakes Compact
A decade in-the-making, a historic pact is now in place to safeguard the health of the world's largest surface freshwater resource for generations to come.
President Bush signed the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact into law in October 2008, days after it won approval in the U.S. House of Representatives and a month after passing the U.S. Senate.
The eight-state water management pact is a first-of-its kind model for a consensus-based, basin-wide approach to decisions about how much and how far away Great Lakes water can be used. Since the compact's passage, the Great Lakes states have been tasked with developing their own water conservation policies in keeping with the compact's goals.
The interstate compact seeks to ban the diversion of Great Lakes water, with some limited exceptions, and set responsible standards for water use and conservation within the basin.
Regional adherence to the conservation policies outlined in the compact is expected to provide a strong legal defense to potential water withdrawal proposals in the future. Such withdrawals could endanger the lakes' ecology, and thus threaten the region's economic lifeblood and the nation's largest fresh surface water resource.
The overwhelming public support for the protection of Great Lakes water moved the issue farther and faster than anyone imagined when the region’s governors and Canadian premiers endorsed the compact back in December 2005.
By the time the compact reached the governors, more than 15,000 people had weighed in on the protections, providing comments in writing and at public hearings throughout the region. At least that many were said to have participated in the years since, as the region’s state legislatures enacted identical versions of the compact and fashioned implementing legislation to suit their own state’s needs.
The Alliance, in collaboration with Great Lakes Basin environmental groups in December 2010 published a compilation of water conservation policies and practices for consideration by the Great Lakes states, provinces and water utilities in meeting their requirements under the Great Lake Compact and Agreement.
See supporting documents:
Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact
Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement
Great Lakes Compact: State by State
July 2008 Senate Resolution approving Great Lakes Compact (S.J. 45)
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