Our great lakes hold 20% of the fresh surface water on earth!

The title alone should stop you in your tracks if you care about our gorgeous lakes here in the mid west and upper peninsula or just the planet and our future water resources. Read on!  If you don’t care, even more so, you should read on.  Bottom line, we have to care.

According to Peter Annin, former Newsweek journalist and author of The Great Lakes Water Wars, this is the issue for the next hundred years and beyond.

The residents in the great lakes region need to manage its own precious resource, the lakes, and this is what Annin has been advocating for in Congress and through the excellent journalism in his book, over the last half-dozen years.   “The Great Lakes are a globally significant recourse, holding 20% of the all the fresh surface water on earth.”

Did you hear that? It bears repeating! The great lakes hold 20% of the all the fresh surface water on earth.

Annin  again: “It is good to use the waters in a sustainable way without all the ecological drawbacks that are common in so many parts of North America and the world.”

In my opinion,  and I’ve said this before, water is a key issue for us today. If you’re interested in the book, it can be found in your local bookstores.  (Buy local!)

Here’s the book’s You Tube  commercial  and an interesting ‘interview.’  I learned a lot.  It got me riled up.  Hence this little rant.

You and I need to know more so that we can speak into the issues, but it is difficult for your average person to figure out how to speak out. There are still places in the Great Lakes Water Compact that bear revisiting and there are deadlines, listed below, that are significant.

As always in a contract of this nature, there is concern that standards could be better defined because “reasonable use” bound against “economic benefits” will always put a price on our water.  How much water is a small withdrawal from the lakes, and can be safely diverted without regulation  is still unclear.  But that we have this agreement is significant  and worth celebrating and we should at the very least follow the conversation, the debate and understand how important it is to our future.

According to http://www.rootswire.org, a new collaboration of bloggers aggregating their sites into a nation-wide news reporting system.

After a burst of activity in 2006 and 2007, when state legislatures considered whether to adopt the Great Lakes Compact, progress on implementation has been slow. While some big decisions have been made—for example, almost all states have chosen thresholds for regulation of water withdrawals—the details are lacking. Stakeholders must press for protective actions in the next few years, or the Compact will fail to fulfill its promise.The requirements and their deadlines are:

· By December 8, 2009, a list of baseline volumes for withdrawals, consumptive uses and diversions must be submitted to the Compact Council. These volumes will be used to grandfather in existing users, and thus must be carefully scrutinized.· By December 8, 2010, water conservation and efficiency goals and objectives must be developed; a water conservation and efficiency program must be implemented; and water conservation measures must be promoted. Strong programs and measures are needed to ensure water will be used thoughtfully, and to ensure there will be enough for the future.

· By December 8, 2013, withdrawals and diversions must be registered and a water management program to regulate new or increased withdrawals and consumptive uses must be developed. The registration program is necessary to know how water is being used in the region. A comprehensive water management program will protect ecosystems from the impact of new or increased withdrawals.

The public needs to take part in this conversation and have the water managed to their benefit not commercial benefit.

Read up.  Get informed.  Water is our future.

I would urge you to do some investigating yourself!

Pete is a neighborhood acquaintance. He also manages the Gull Rock Light Keepers, a non-profit organization founded to save the Gull Rock Lighthouse, which Tom and I support.  The lighthouses of the great lakes are a beautiful, practical and most tangible cause which deserve our resources and attention.

2 thoughts on “Our great lakes hold 20% of the fresh surface water on earth!

  1. What an amazing fact!! I am not an American and know relatively little about your Great Lakes. A possible visit to USA next year has seen me researching various areas before deciding where to go – hence my visit to your very informative and interesting blog!


    1. Thank you Moranna. I hope your visit is great. There is much to see and do, especially our national parks.


Thanks so much for reading and sharing.

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