|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 19, 2004|
|| Press Secretary Carlene Orig at (414) 286-8531 |
GREAT LAKES CITIES ACCEPT BARRETT'S POSITION ON WATER CONSERVATION
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's position on strengthening water conservation measures in the 2001 Great Lakes Annex was included in comments submitted yesterday by the Great Lakes Cities Initiative to the Great Lakes Governors Association.
Barrett had requested that the Great Lakes Cities Initiative, a bi-national coalition of 49 mayors and other local officials, strengthen its stance on water conservation so that, "communities inside and outside of the basin understand that water conservation is the single most important factor in protecting the Great Lakes for centuries to come," Mayor Barrett said.
The Great Lakes Sustainable Water Resources Agreement and Compact [the Annex] represent years of work by the eight Great Lakes Governors and two Canadian Premiers. The documents provide for the first comprehensive system for managing withdrawals of water from the Great Lakes Basin.
Barrett said that if diverting Great Lakes water is looked at only in terms of supply and demand, our region's greatest natural resource and our region's economic growth will be forever compromised. "It's reasonable to assess a request for Great Lakes Water based on a community's commitment to conserve and protect water," Barrett stated. "Without measurable conservation standards, we will open up the basin to unprecedented pressure and withdrawals."
Barrett pointed to a recent press report about communities in southeast Wisconsin that expressed concern about the impact new wells will have on limited water resources. "There are communities in southeast Wisconsin that are outside the Great Lakes Basin and are feeling the pressures that come with the high demand for water. Those communities have every right to ask what is being done to conserve and preserve water. Las Vegas and other dry state localities should be addressing those very same issues."
The Great Lakes Cities Initiative is recommending that specific conservation measures and goals and, the subsequent documentation of achieved conservation through monitoring and reporting, be requirements for diversion applicants.
"The Great Lakes Agreement and Compact process will take years before full implementation," Barrett said. "Southeast Wisconsin communities should use that time to develop meaningful water conservation measures. As a region, we can lead by example and ensure our region's stability for generations to come."
Click here for the full text of the Great Lakes Cities Initiatives comments. in PDF