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GLIN==> Water resources management report now available!


Online at www.glc.org/wateruse/wrmdss

Report points the way to improved water resources management

Ann Arbor, Mich. ­— Efforts to protect the water resources of the Great Lakes- St. Lawrence River basin from overuse and abuse have taken a significant step forward, thanks to a major study released by the Great Lakes Commission.   

A binational organization of the Great Lakes states and provinces, the Commission conducted the study to identify and address data, information and related scientific needs to ensure informed decisions on issues of water withdrawal, consumptive use and diversion.  Its report, Toward a Water Resources Management Decision Support System for the Great Lakes- St. Lawrence River Basin, offers 39 recommendations for research, monitoring, management and policy initiatives, all designed to promote sound public policy decisions on water use.

“Residents of this binational region are rightly concerned about how future demand for Great Lakes water will affect this precious resource,” said Dr. Michael J. Donahue, president/CEO of the Great Lakes Commission. “Sound decisions are dependent upon sound science, and our job was to help build a ‘tool kit’ of data, information and related processes that will assist the region’s decisionmakers.”

Report findings and recommendations are expected to advance efforts to implement Annex 2001, a supplementary agreement to the Great Lakes Charter of 1985.  Signed by the region’s governors and premiers, the Charter provides guidance in developing and implementing an enhanced water resources management process to address water withdrawal, consumptive use and diversion issues.  

“Simply put, this report tells us what we currently know about our water resources, what we need to know, and how to address the difference between the two,” said Dick Bartz, chair of the project’s management team and a water resources specialist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. “With this as a starting point, we can assemble the information we need to make well-informed decisions regarding the use and management of our water resources.”

Nearly three years in the making, the report features three major elements: an assessment of the available information on Great Lakes-St. Lawrence water resources, an inventory of current water withdrawals and uses, and a review of the state of knowledge regarding the ecological impacts of water withdrawals, diversions and consumptive uses.

The report looks not only at what is needed to support water management decisions for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence themselves, but considers the potential impacts of water withdrawals upon the water resources of the entire basin, including groundwater, rivers and streams. It was produced by a team of federal, state, provincial and regional water experts, with input from an advisory committee representing a broad range of environmental, business, academic, tribal and other stakeholder interests.

Many of the report’s 39 recommendations are related to research, data aquisition and analysis. Among others, they call for an improved understanding of the Great Lakes basin’s physical and biological components, better awareness of current resource uses, adapting current monitoring and modeling to the needs of Annex 2001, using modeling and data collection to gain a better understanding of ecosystem responses to water withdrawals, and conducting research on water conservation and resource improvement standards to support Annex 2001 development and implementation.

The report also offers a series of conclusions regarding the cumulative effects of water withdrawals and the potential of changes in climate, land use and other factors to alter water quantities and flows through the system.

The complete report, along with all appendices and additional project information, is available online at  www.glc.org/wateruse/wrmdss  A print version with CD-ROM appendices is available from the Great Lakes Commission for $20 U.S./$28 Can.; or as a CD-ROM containing both the report and all appendices for $5 U.S./$7 Can.

For more information, contact:
Tom Crane

To order a copy of the report, contact
Becky Lameka
Great Lakes Commission
Eisenhower Corporate Park
2805 S. Industrial Hwy, Suite 100
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-6791


The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Samuel W. Speck (Ohio), is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency created by state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great LakesSt. Lawrence region and its residents.  The Commission consists of state legislators, agency officials and governors’ appointees 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 formal Observer 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.