By: Cheryl Mendoza, Lake Michigan Federation
Home to 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water, the Great Lakes will be under increasing pressure as the world’s thirst for clean water grows. Yet proposals to send some of this seemingly limitless resource beyond the Great Lakes Basin would set a dangerous precedent for the lakes’ ecological well-being.
The lakes are primarily glacial deposits, with only about 1 percent of Great Lakes’ water being renewed through rain, snow and groundwater. Experts say that diverting more than the natural recharge level could deplete the lakes over time. The challenge facing the region’s leaders is how to meet the world’s growing need for fresh water while protecting the lakes. The Great Lakes governors and premiers recognize the seriousness of the challenge and are taking steps to develop management plans and protections for the lakes, called the Great Lakes Charter Annex.
The Annex goes beyond working to ensure Great Lakes water is used sustainably; it seeks to improve the ecology of the lakes through legally binding standards.
The Council of Great Lakes Governors aims to release the draft Annex for public review in early summer, to be followed by public hearings around the Great Lakes. “The Federation will be taking an active role in helping the public weigh in on the Annex,”says Cheryl Mendoza, manager of the Federation’s water conservation programs. “This is an important time to speak out – the future of our Great Lakes depends on it.”
For more information, or to be notified of public hearings and updates, contact Cheryl Mendoza at 616-850-0745 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jill Ryan at 231-347-1181 ext 106 or email@example.com.