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Kierans’ GRAND Canal water export plan

Columnist Roy MacGregor writes on page A2 of the Globe and Mail today that a report from the Montreal Economic Institute says “it would be possible to dam three major rivers in the James Bay area, flood more than 1,000 square kilometres of Northern Quebec each spring and then strategically release the water so it can be pumped to the Ottawa River and end up in Montreal. It would improve the port, produce $1-billion worth of power – and mean as much as $20-billion a year in water sales to the parched United States.”

“It is now 50 years since (engineer Tom) Kierans …dreamed up his GRAND Canal idea. Kieran’s Great Recycling and Northern Development Canal would, instead of damming the rivers and causing widespread flooding, allow the waters to enter shallow James Bay. He would, however, build a dam system somewhat based on Holland’s Zuiderzee Works, ensuring that the freshwater is not lost to the sea but is trapped where it can then be channelled down the Ottawa River and even across Northern Ontario to the Great Lakes basin.”

“Kierans estimates there is almost two times the amount of freshwater flowing into James Bay as there is flowing through the Great Lakes into the St. Lawrence River.”

“He got Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa and future prime minister John Turner to agree with him, got the support of heavyweights in the Ontario government and on Bay Street, but the project was always just out of reach – both financially and imaginatively.”

“Kierans still fights for his plan, joined by public-policy analyst Jack Biddell, former president of the prestigious Clarkson Gordon accounting firm (whose contribution is to show government how to finance it).”

“Kierans figures that before this century is out, freshwater in North America will reach such a crisis state – drought, forest fires, irrigation – that Canada will be forced to reach an agreement with the United States. Otherwise, he says, ‘They’ll just take it.'”

Of Canada’s best-known opponent of water export schemes, Kierans says, “I don’t want to fight Maude Barlow. I want to convert her!”

Mr. MacGregor’s column is at http://theglobeandmail.com/news/national/a-visionarys-epiphany-about-water/article1311853/?.