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E-M:/ Report: Eliminate diversion loopholes

Midwest Environmental Advocates, a Wisconsin-based group, has staked out a strong set of recommendations for implementing the Great Lakes Compact. Their top recommendation is to eliminate the bottled water loophole as part of the approval process for the compact agreement. 

Full report:
Realizing the Promise of the Great Lakes Compact: A Policy Guide for State Implementation,

Key recommendations:

1. Eliminate loopholes that encourage privatizing Great
Lakes water. Each state and province should eliminate
the bottled water loophole that allows the diversion of
Great Lakes water in containers 5.7 gallons or less.

2. Strengthen the ban on diversions. To ensure that
diversions occur only in absolutely necessary situations
and will not damage the Great Lakes, the provisions
concerning diversions outside of the basin must be
strengthened to require conservation prior to allowing
new diversions, require water to be returned to its
initial point of withdrawal, and set the political
boundaries for straddling communities and
communities within straddling counties as of
December 13, 2005.

3. Set a meaningful regulatory level for in-basin users of
Great Lakes water. For the first time, the Compact
establishes a uniform standard to apply to in-basin uses
of water, but allows each jurisdiction to set the
withdrawal level at which this standard will apply.
States and provinces should set this regulatory level
at a place that captures most of the water users within
its jurisdiction.

4. Require strong water conservation standards. States
and provinces need to take steps to safeguard their
water wealth by requiring each permit holder to
implement water conservation measures, set
mandatory statewide and provincial conservation
programs with measurable goals, and allow any
member of the public to enforce conservation
requirements contained in permits.