Friday, February 28, 2014

Should Michigan Sell Its Water to California?

A question worth asking:

It’s almost unfair how the Great Lakes area’s bountiful snowfall this winter will only compound the region’s enjoyment of an unequaled 21 percent of the world’s supply of fresh surface water, while places like California, the Southwest, the Southeast and even the Great Plains continue to struggle with near- and long-term water supply challenges.

In an era of increasingly stressed water systems and still-growing populations around the world, the aqueous blessings of the Upper Midwest, especially those fulsome bodies of water surrounding the peninsula amoena of Michigan, will only be envied — and coveted — even more.

[...] Some believe that Michigan hasn’t been doing a sufficient job of economically leveraging its own singular position at the epicenter of the world’s largest fresh-water supply.

[...] One possibility is blocked for now. A five-year-old agreement between the United States and Canada called the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Water Resources Compact ensures that the lakes’ waters won’t be shipped wholesale from the region even if the temptation to do so presents itself to one state or province or another. That’s exactly what happened in the late 1990s when Ontario moved toward sending bulk containers of Lake Superior water to Asia.

But the expectation may grow that in an increasingly thirsty world, those who benefit most from the Great Lakes should figure on sharing their fresh-water fortune with the rest of America and maybe beyond. Nothing says the Compact couldn’t be modified or overturned by future political pressures.

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What entity in Michigan, and what entity in California? To and from whom do the dollars flow? And what private entities profit the most?

Posted by: Wyn Achenbaum | Feb 28, 2014 1:47:15 PM

Consider an alternative: Perhaps people should move from thirsty areas to areas with water. Let's revitalize Michigan and the Great Lakes area by bringing back the people, instead of depleting the Great Lakes by some elaborate mechanism to ship water.

Posted by: Catherine LaCroix | Mar 1, 2014 8:55:39 AM

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