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NEWS: Barlow says dropping water levels in the Great Lakes a threat to the right to water

The Georgina Advocate reports, “With the Canadian government having received the long-awaited advice from the International Joint Commission on how to address low water levels in the Great Lakes, all eyes are now on Ottawa and Queen’s Park. The commission advised that Canada and the United States look at structural options to increase water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron by 13 to 25 centimetres. The Canadian government is expected to respond to the report.”

“Council of Canadians national chairperson Maude Barlow is currently on a seven-stop speaking tour calling for the Great Lakes to be recognized as a common good to be shared, protected and enjoyed by all who live around them.

Falling water levels is among the acknowledged threats to water as a human right, she said. Ms Barlow and her group want governments to recognize the ecological rights of the watershed, to agree that private interests are subordinate to community rights, and to acknowledge that governments have an obligation to manage and protect the Great Lakes in consultation with First Nations. ‘The Great Lakes of North America are in serious trouble’, Ms Barlow said. ‘Industrial pollution, climate change, over-extraction, invasive species and wetland loss are all taking their toll on the watershed that provides life and livelihood to more than 40 million people and thousands of species that live around it.”

Barlow will be raising these concerns in the Ontario communities of Port Elgin on August 1 and Bayfield on September 28.

The newspaper also notes that, “(24 Georgian Bay municipalities reported that) water levels are affecting 68 marinas and 76 other businesses, as well as 31 government facilities, including municipal water systems, coast guard stations and the MS Chi-Cheemaun ferry. It is estimated cottagers will spend $500 million to extend and repair docks and water systems and the negative impact on local economies is pegged between $50 million to $100 million. …There was a nod to low water levels in the proposed 2013 federal budget, but there was no dollar value attached. …The mayors’ group is planning a public information session at the Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound June 13 to provide information on their work and to gather more data to support (the business case) for immediate aid from the federal and provincial governments.”

For more, please read:
UPDATE: Great Lakes tour highlighting climate change and historically low water levels
NEWS: Dropping Georgian Bay water levels a concern
International Joint Commission to hold public hearing on lowering lake levels