Congress is likely to ratify — possibly this year — the Great Lakes Compact, an agreement among the eight Great Lakes states — including New York — that bans most water diversions, the lawmakers said.This region -- a/k/a "The Rust Belt" -- has lost many people and jobs to other parts of the country in warmer climes. And it is those fast-growing "other parts of the country" that now find themselves running out of water.
Lawmakers said they think the compact is hugely important because the demand for fresh water is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years — and the Great Lakes possesses a fifth of the world’s surface fresh water.
“We all see what’s happened with oil,” said Rep. Vern Ehlers, R-Mich. “The same thing is likely to happen with water— but it’s likely to be worse.”
Without the protections provided by the compact, drier states might try to strike deals to extract the lakes’ waters, said Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio.
“They’ve been stealing our jobs, which led me to ask: Are they going to steal our water, too?” Voinovich asked.
At some point, people and jobs just may come back here to be near this supply of water. . . .
There is a caution, however, that our Oneida-Herkimer County officials need to be concerned about:
Western Oneida County is in the Great Lakes Basin, and would still be able to tap abundant Great Lakes water if needed (part of the County already does). Eastern Oneida County, including Greater Utica, and Herkimer County, are out of the basin, and would not be permitted to draw upon Great Lakes water.
The Great Lakes Compact makes it even more imperative that the Mohawk Valley Water Authority's expansion plans for Verona (in the Great Lakes basin) be denied. Verona will continue to have access to an almost endless supply; Greater Utica and Herkimer County will not.
With that in mind, good sense would dictate that resources east of the Great Lakes Basin be reserved for users east of the Great Lakes Basin.