Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement updated

Public comment on role of international Joint Commission’s in implementing latest revision of GLWQA 2012. Here is IJC press release:

TRAVERSE CITY, MI (AP)–   A U.S.-Canadian agency is inviting the public to comment on the role it will play under an updated agreement between the two nations to protect the Great Lakes. 

The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was first signed in 1972. The latest version was approved last year. It’s designed to guide both federal governments as they devise policies to deal with threats such as algae blooms, toxic pollution and invasive species.

The agreement instructs an organization called the International Joint Commission to create two boards that will provide advice on carrying out the accord, which commits the U.S. and Canada to restore the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters.

Comments on the functions, structure and membership of the two boards are being accepted through July 24.

Great Lakes basin water hogs | Great Lakes Echo

Reblog of the article by Becky Mckendry on water use by Ontario, Quebec, New York, Pennsylvania. Water hog designation depends on type of water use from agriculture to hydro power:


More than 44 billion gallons of water were extracted daily from the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin in 2011, according to a new report.

Of the region’s states and provinces, Ontario withdrew the most water, at about 37 percent and Pennsylvania took the least at .07 percent. Uses for the water include irrigation, public drinking and industrial needs.

That amount does not include water used for hydroelectric energy.

When including energy uses, the picture changes dramatically. Quebec, New York and Ontario together make up  more than 97 percent of the water withdrawals.

The findings are part of an annual report recently released by the Great Lakes Commission. The full report can be found here, as well as previous years’ reports.

Department of Environmental Protection Begins Project to Connect Catskill and Delaware Aqueducts

Inter basin water transfers are a dangerous precedent. Why else would connections lay dormant since it was built in the 1940s. Foreign biota from Delaware river basin would contaminate Hudson water basin ecosystem. Bottom line , Ashokan and Pepacton reservoirs would be connected. Read on for DEP site information excerpt and link:

(DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland today announced that construction has begun on a $21.2 million project to connect the Catskill and Delaware aqueducts for the first time. The two aqueducts together convey approximately one billion gallons of water each day to the city from six separate reservoirs located in the Catskills. The interconnect project at the Delaware Aqueduct’s Shaft 4 in the Town of Gardiner in Ulster County will allow DEP to move as much as 365 million gallons each day from the Delaware Aqueduct into the Catskill Aqueduct, providing additional operational flexibility and another tool to reduce turbidity in the water supply system after large storms.

IJC Teleconference on water levels

The International Joint Commission (IJC) invites you to participate in a teleconference briefing on Thursday, June 13 regarding public hearings on a proposal for regulating the water levels and flows of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. IJC staff will make a presentation and be available to answer questions.
When:  June 13, 2013, at 2:00 pm
How to participate:
Teleconference number: 1-877-413-4781
Participant code: 736 879 4
Webinar login information:
1. Go to
2. Enter your name and email address.
3. Enter the meeting password: IJC
4. Click “Join Now”.
To update this meeting to your calendar program (for example Microsoft Outlook), click here.
WebEx will automatically setup Meeting Manager for Windows the first time you join a meeting. To save time, you can setup prior to the meeting by clicking here.
Frank Bevacqua, Public Affairs Adviser, Washington D.C. – 202-736-9024,
Bernard Beckhoff, Public Affairs Adviser, Ottawa ON – 613-947-1420,

IJC RFP For Lake Erie Nutrient Runoff Engagement

The International Joint Commission’s (IJC’s) Great Lakes Regional Office (GLRO) is issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for anticipated services of a qualified contractor to conduct a study in the Lake Erie basin to support binational efforts to engage farmers, lake shoreline residents, and urban residents to implement best management practices to reduce nutrient runoff to Lake Erie. The study will analyze barriers to and incentives for participation in nutrient runoff reduction initiatives and use a social marketing strategy to encourage implementation of best management practices for nutrient runoff reduction.
    The RFP is open to all teams of researchers, consultants and contractor(s), colleges, universities, non-profit organizations, and for-profit companies where the lead investigators normally reside in Canada or the United States. Experience in statistical research, social marketing and project management is highly desired. Subject to the availability of funds, IJC contemplates an award of a single-award, firm fixed price contract with an estimated Period of Performance of 16 months to obtain the results described in the statement of work. The Maximum sum of the contract awarded under a Fixed Price Contract is anticipated not to exceed $130,000 USD. Questions and requests for clarifications regarding the RFP must be submitted no later than 5 PM on Friday, June 14, 2013. The closing date for the RFP is June 28, 2013.

State Sovereignty over Water

The supreme Court will rule on Tarrant  v Hermann soon. Here is some background on the issue. State sovereignty over its resources is at stake and could set a new precedent for other regional water compact disputes like Arizona or California. Here is an excerpt from Dallas paper:

The central question in Tarrant Regional Water District vs. Hermann is whether the Supreme Court will uphold the Red River Compact, a 35-year-old pact that sets markers on how Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana share water from the river. Each state signed the compact, and Congress approved it in 1978.
Among other points, the agreement stipulates that Texas has access to certain water basins in Oklahoma, just as Oklahoma has access to specific Texas basins. Oklahoma, however, has denied the Tarrant Regional Water District the right to seek a permit for its share of the water from one of the basins the compact covers.
The Tarrant district rightly has pressed this case all the way to the Supreme Court.
The justices may be tempted by sovereignty arguments that were used by Oklahoma legislators to sustain a moratorium on the sale or transfer of water from Oklahoma to Texas. Here’s the problem with that line of reasoning: Whenever a state enters into a compact, it by definition loses some of its sovereign rights. Chief Justice John Roberts emphasized that reality during oral arguments in this case back in April.

Who pays for restoration?

While there is high water levels in Georgian Bay, there are low water levels for Huron-Michigan. Who will pay for restoration of water levels? This problem’s complexity is heighten by climate change by glacial isostatic adjustment. Here is an excerpt from article from Globe and Mail:


Unfortunately, it’s not so simple. While St. Clair River dredging projects between the late 1800s and 1962 (and probably some further erosion subsequently) did contribute to lower water levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, the decline caused by channel alterations only exacerbates the key driver of water level changes: climate. Scientists tell us that low levels are caused by persistent decline in precipitation, lack of ice and the resulting increase in evaporation. In fact, evaporation is by far the top cause of water loss from the lakes. Scientists’ satellite images and anglers’ unused-ice fishing tip-ups can tell you that the amount and duration of wintertime ice has fallen dramatically since the 1970s.

In addition, the movement of the Earth’s crust in response to the melting of glaciers, a phenomenon known as glacial isostatic adjustment, has also contributed to the apparent drop in water levels, especially around Georgian Bay. Just in the course of my lifetime, GIA has caused an apparent drop of 18 centimetres.

Those who point only to the dredging of the St. Clair River are oversimplifying the dynamics.