13 October 2011

Contest entry: The great wake-up call

Goal: Give the best example of the end of abundance in water and how people addressed the problem.

EC writes:

In 1998, a decision by Canadian officials in the province of Ontario to permit the annual shipment of 158 million gallons of water from the Great Lakes Basin of North America to Asia set off a flurry of public criticism and, in turn, political action. That water from the Great Lakes could be bought, sold, and shipped to another continent, presumably never to return in any real sense, brought Great Lakes basin citizens to the realization that no strong legal framework was in place to prohibit such use of the basin's water resources.

Three shortcomings of existing law at the time included: 1) insufficient and inconsistent coverage of regionally applicable law, 2) legal weaknesses of the Water Resources Development Act due to lack of decision-making standards and enforcement mechanisms, and 3) non-binding regional agreements. An interstate compact amongst the Great Lakes States (US) and Provinces (Canada) was designed to promote long-term protection and sound management of the Basin’s water while preserving state sovereignty that would have otherwise been forfeited under federal regulation. In cooperation, Great Lakes States and Provinces developed a legal mechanism whereby the ability of each state to weigh in on one another’s decisions safeguards against abuse of the basin's resources.
Other entries: TEoA in Mexico City Wyoming's big flows Harvesting rainwater in Brazil Time for toilet to tap

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