August 19, 1999 Steelhead Society Calls for Stronger Action to Prevent Bulk Water Exports

The Steelhead Society Calls for Stronger Action to Prevent Bulk Water Exports

August 19, 1999

Vancouver, BC - As the International Joint Commission released their interim report, "Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes" yesterday, the Steelhead Society called for stringer regulations to prevent the bulk export of water. "The recommendations in today's interim report do not go far enough to ensure the preservation of the Canadian freshwater habitat," stated Society President Daniel Burns.

In the report, which examines the effects of large-scale diversion and removal of water from the Great Lakes, the committee recommended that Canada and the United States impose nation-wide moratoriums on Bulk Water Exports. Citing potential environmental and ecological effects resulting from the bulk export of water from the Great Lakes, the Committee recommends that both nations enact moratoriums until its investigations are complete.

The report urges the two nations to closely regulate consumptive uses of water from the Great Lakes in accordance with existing laws in both countries and the Great Lakes Charter. Additionally, the Committee recommends actions to improve the development of information needed about current and future consumptive uses and to expand knowledge concerning groundwater in the Great Lakes region.

"It is encouraging to see that the Committee, an organization that represents the interests of both Canada and the United States, recognizes that the bulk removal of water constitutes a threat to the integrity of the ecosystem of the Great Lakes basin," stated Burns. "However, the recommendations in the report for a temporary moratorium are not strong enough, given the vast uncertainty surrounding the effects of such removals."

The Steelhead Society believes that only a immediate, outright ban on the bulk removal of water from the Great Lakes and all other Canadian watersheds by the Federal Government will ensure that water does not become a commodity. Rather, the Society wishes to see water recognized as a vulnerable and integral part of the environment. Federal laws banning bulk water export, coupled with other conservation measures, are the only way to ensure, and to protect North America's most important resource for future generations.