Great Lakes Commission hails approval of water pact

The Great Lakes Commission is applauding the Great Lakes governors and premiers for giving their approval to a landmark agreement to protect the world’s greatest freshwater resource, the Great Lakes.

Formally known as The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement, the pact sets forth new guidelines to protect the waters of the Great Lakes basin against future shortages and conflicts over their use while maintaining the economic advantages they provide to the region.

“This is a great day for the Great Lakes,” said Tom Huntley, chair of the Great Lakes Commission. “These agreements protect the region against future out-of-basin demands for freshwater, which could put severe pressure on the Great Lakes. They offer the promise that we can preserve this world-class resource for the use and enjoyment of future generations in our region.”

The agreements detail how the states and provinces will manage and protect the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River basin and will provide a framework for each state and province to enact laws protecting the basin.

Huntley praised the Council of Great Lakes Governors and the Canadian premiers for their hard work over the years in crafting the agreement and building consensus upon its provisions, both among the governors and premiers and in the region itself.

The Great Lakes Commission has been a long-time advocate for such an agreement and will continue to press for its ratification by the legislatures of the eight Great Lakes states and the U.S. Congress.

The agreement establishes a process for regulating new major withdrawals of Great Lakes water and prohibits new diversions of Great Lakes water outside the basin, unless nearly all the water is returned to the source after use. The agreement also commits all eight states to develop water conservation programs.

A compact among the eight Great Lakes states to make the agreement legally binding has been drafted and will be forwarded to the respective state legislatures and the U.S. Congress for approval. Ontario and Québec will pursue legal implementation through their provincial legislatures.

The agreement is the outcome of efforts to fulfill the commitments made under the Great Lakes Charter Annex of 2001, signed by the Great Lakes governors and premiers, which committed them to develop a new set of binding agreements to protect and manage the waters of the Great Lakes basin.

For more information, including the full text of the agreement, see

For immediate release: December 14, 2005
Contact: Tom Crane,, office: 734-971-9135


The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Lt. Gov. John Cherry (Mich.), is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formalObserver program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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