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IJC to investigate water use, diversion and removal policies




For Release: February 10, 1999

IJC to investigate water use, diversion and removal policies

The United States and Canadian federal governments today asked the
International Joint Commission (IJC) to examine and report on the use,
diversion and removal of waters along the common border. The governments
noted that Aboundary water resources continue to be the subject of
ever-increasing demands in the light of expanding populations@ and that
Aproposals to use, divert and remove greater amounts of such waters can
be expected.@

The request from governments comes in the wake of proposals to export
water overseas from Canada and litigation involving the export of water
from Canada to the United States. Both governments are concerned that
existing management principles and conservation measures may be
inadequate to ensure future sustainable use of shared waters.

The need to review the management and use of transboundary water
resources was raised by the IJC in a 1997 report entitled The IJC and
the 21st Century. The IJC said such a review is needed to ensure that
water and related issues are managed a rational, consistent and
anticipatory way to prevent transboundary disputes.

"The importance of binational cooperation in addressing these critical
issues cannot be overstated," said Leonard Legault, Chairman of the
IJC's Canadian Section in response to today's request from the two

"In conducting this investigation, the IJC will consult with federal,
provincial and state governments, international and regional
organizations, and other relevant sources inside and outside of
government," said Thomas Baldini, chair of the IJC's U.S. Section.

The request from the governments asks the IJC to examine, report upon
and provide recommendations on the following matters which may have
effects on levels and flows of water within transboundary basins and
shared aquifers:

1.	Existing and potential consumptive uses of water; 

2.	Existing and potential diversions of water in and out of the
transboundary basins, including withdrawals of water for export; 

3.	The cumulative effects of existing and potential diversions and
removals of water, including removals in bulk for export; 

4.	The current laws and policies as may affect the sustainability
of the water resources in boundary and transboundary basins. 

The governments have asked the IJC to build on its experience, notably
its study of Great Lakes diversions and consumptive uses that concluded
in 1985, and to submit interim recommendations for the protection of
Great Lakes waters within six months. A final report making
recommendations on the broader issue of U.S.-Canada shared waters is
requested within six months of the interim recommendations.

As it addresses these matters, the IJC will undertake broad
consultations with all interested parties. As a first priority, the
International Joint Commission will hold a series of eight public
hearings in March at the locations below: 

Chicago, Toronto, Montréal, Cleveland, Rochester (NY), Windsor, Sault
Ste. Marie (ON) & Duluth.

Dates will be announced in local media and on the IJC Web Site
(www.ijc.org). The Commission also intends to hold workshops in the
eastern and western border regions of the continent to obtain advice on
the questions posed by governments, particularly as they might apply to
the broader issue of Canada-U.S. shared waters outside the Great Lakes

In addition to the public hearings, the IJC invites all interested
parties to submit written comment on this investigation to the addresses

International Joint Commission
U.S. Section
1250 23rd Street N.W., Suite 100
Washington, DC 20440 

Fax: (202) 736-9015

Email: c ommission@washington.ijc.org


International Joint Commission
Canadian Section
100 Metcalfe Street, 18th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 5M1 

Fax: (613) 993-5583 

Email: commission@ottawa.ijc.org


The International Joint Commission is a binational Canada-U.S.
organization established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. It
assists the governments in managing waters along the border for the
benefit of both countries in a variety of ways including examining
issues referred to it by the two federal governments.

More information, including the full text of the letter of reference,
may be found on the Commission=s web site, at www.ijc.org.


Washington, D.C.         Frank Bevacqua 202.736.9024

Ottawa, ON                   Fabien Lengellé 613.995.0088