"A coalition of U.S. and Canadian cities along the Great Lakes and St Lawrence River, including Toronto and Chicago, vowed on Thursday to cut water consumption 15 percent by 2015. The 20 Canadian and nine U.S. communities, members of Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, have agreed to cut water consumption by 15 percent below their 2000 level and to then set a target for further reductions by 2025.
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River hold about 20 percent of the world's surface fresh water and supply drinking water to more than 40 million people in Canada and the United States, according to the group."
This move is a strategically critical prelude to future refusals of water withdrawal requests. Several US states have ignored warnings of climate change while squandering their own water resources with unsustainable practices, such as withdrawing irrigation water from the collapsing western aquifers to irrigate corn for fuel. They'll be the first to howl about "greedy conservationists" in the Midwest and Canada withholding an "American Resource."And it's not just to selfishly protect drinking water. The Great Lakes Basin Commission reported this week that "the 4.3 million recreational vessels registered in the eight Great Lakes states drive almost $16 billion in yearly spending on boats and related activities. The number of people whose livelihoods are supported by that spending: 107,000."
Suck all that water away for Oklahoma cotton, Las Vegas lawns, and the Alberta Tar Sands project, for example, and Great Lakes boating benefits will sink away like the legendary Robert de LaSalle's ship, the Griffin.