Don't You Dare Touch Our Water

That's what a lot of Great Lakes states and provinces are saying; as John noted earlier, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson from New Mexico said "States like Wisconsin are awash in water" and wants some.

He backed down, but the Chicago Tribune suggests that will not be the end of the issue. "The fires in Southern California, the prolonged drought in the Southeast and the shrinking flow of the Colorado River, which feeds seven Western states, have underscored the importance of water supplies in rapidly developing regions and the determination of a handful of states to hold on to a resource they see as key to their economic future."With fresh water supplies dwindling in the West and South, the Great Lakes are the natural-resource equivalent of the fat pension fund, and some politicians are eager to raid it. The lakes contain nearly 20 percent of the world's surface fresh water.

"You're going to see increasing pressure to gain access to this [water] supply," said Aaron Packman, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northwestern University. "Clearly it's a case of different regional interests competing for this water."

The Great Lakes states and provinces are trying to put together a water compact to protect the water, and it is, of course, an international issue. In a world where planning principles and logic prevailed, one would look forward to a reversal of the migration to the southwest as people come back north for the newly temperate climate, but no, according to an environmental lawyer: there is "no way for the Great Lakes states to prevent the U.S. government from taking the water if the federal government wants to do so."

"It doesn't make economic sense to send Great Lakes water to the High Plains or the Southwest, but we know the thirsty will be calling."

Sigh. ::Chicago Tribune

Tags: Chicago | Drought | Great Lakes