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Why Diverting Water From The Great Lakes Region Is A Bad Idea

890 words - 4 pages

Water is the foundational basis of life on Earth. Ecosystems, society and humans are completely dependent on it, and as the world population continues to grow, there will be more mouths to feed, and those people will need water to continue their daily lives. However, shortages and poor management leads to the destruction of natural habitats and human suffering. Desertification of land in China is ever-increasing, turning green, lush land into desert. However, this is due mainly in part, because of human activity, and global warming (Wang, Yang, Dong, & Zhang, 2009). The United States could experience a crisis similarly to China’s, but for now they have averted such a catastrophe, because of heavy regulation of water. Though there are water shortages in many parts of the world, it is unwise to export water from the Great Lakes to those regions. Two major reasons why diverting the Great Lakes is a terrible idea, one: it allows for waters wars to start on the basis of who is allowed to access it and for commodification purposes. Two, diverting water on such large scales could have cataclysmic effects on the local residents as well as the environment.
Water War
United States regions that may have the largest interest in the Great Lakes would be the Southwest and Southeast. The Southwest because the majority of the region is desert and has seen a steady increase of population (Jones, & McCormick, 2010). The growing population has added to the burgeoning overuse of water. This overuse of water has spurred talk to divert water from Canada to the Southwestern United States. According to Tony Clarke of the Polaris Institute, President Bush, in 2001, would like to begin negotiating with Ottawa on water exports from Canada (Clarke, 2008). The Southeast is not as likely to need diverted water because of their green lands, and mountain spring water. However, during 2005-2008 there was an extreme drought in the Southeast. I know this because I was living in Georgia at the time. In Atlanta, where it was the hardest, Lake Allatoona and Lake Lanier supplied the majority of the city’s water, but began drying up. I remember hearing of proposals to pipe water from the North when droughts would hit, which would infer political debate.
Legal battles would ensue if the mass exportation of the Great Lake’s water was allowed. Regions requiring the water would tie up the legal system with lawsuits, vying for the right to divert water. Courts then would need to determine who is allowed access and at what amount. This in itself would be a legal nightmare, not to mention the environmental impact it would have on the lakes. Fortunately a binational...

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