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Old 28-05-2022, 07:37   #1
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Great Lakes Diversions

Greetings all. I am a bit curious to the reaction the people here on diverting water to the Southwestern US. It seems calls are increasing to tap the Great Lakes and pipe water to states that are currently in a mega drought situation. I know we have the Boundary Waters Treaty and the Great Lakes Compact for protection but can anything really be relied on to prevent such a diversion given the instability of the institutions that uphold these agreements?
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Old 28-05-2022, 07:52   #2
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Re: Great Lakes Diversions

Look for water wars to be the next challenge worldwide. They are already happening everywhere.
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Old 28-05-2022, 08:12   #3
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Re: Great Lakes Diversions

I can’t imagine the implications to say nothing of the expense of such a monumental undertaking. Apart from the greed of the states it might be meant to serve, I’m certain that every state in between would consider itself a stakeholder and find all sorts of “need” and argue for the resource as well. I say this as a life long resident of the Colorado River system. Southwestern states had better demonstrate a lot more responsibility and adaptability in development and management before other states are tapped to bail them out. A trend of more than a few years of extraordinary drought which is unprecedented in the geologic and archeological records should also be established before any hasty solutions are implemented -in my humble opinion.
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Old 28-05-2022, 08:22   #4
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Re: Great Lakes Diversions

More than 40 million people rely on Great Lakes, as their drinking water source.
When multinational corporations, and communities far outside of the Great Lakes basin, started seeking the water in the Great Lakes, and partly because of the lesson learned from the fate of the Aral Sea*, 8 states and two Canadian Provinces entered into a protective agreement, called the Great Lakes Compact. The Compact manages and regulates withdrawals from the lakes.
The Great Lakes Compact is one of the most significant public water policy achievements in the world.

* Central Asia’s Aral Sea is a perfect example of what can happen when too much water is diverted from lakes. The Aral was once the fourth largest inland body of water in the world. But the Soviet Union diverted Aral water in the 1950s to grow crops. These diversions dried up 90 percent of the lake in the span of a generation.
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Old 28-05-2022, 08:47   #5
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Re: Great Lakes Diversions

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
More than 40 million people rely on Great Lakes, as their drinking water source.
When multinational corporations, and communities far outside of the Great Lakes basin, started seeking the water in the Great Lakes, and partly because of the lesson learned from the fate of the Aral Sea*, 8 states and two Canadian Provinces entered into a protective agreement, called the Great Lakes Compact. The Compact manages and regulates withdrawals from the lakes.
The Great Lakes Compact is one of the most significant public water policy achievements in the world.

* Central Asia’s Aral Sea is a perfect example of what can happen when too much water is diverted from lakes. The Aral was once the fourth largest inland body of water in the world. But the Soviet Union diverted Aral water in the 1950s to grow crops. These diversions dried up 90 percent of the lake in the span of a generation.

I am aware of the Compact. My issue is reading comments elsewhere that do not take into account these are international lakes. I read one comment that the lakes belonged to the US. I am a bit embarrassed that one of my fellow country men is ignorant of the international nature of these lakes. I have no doubt that should this drought prove persistent that there will be more calls to divert water resources from the GLs. As Durangutan pointed out the costs to construct a pipeline of adequate size would be astronomical. Could we begin to see climate refugees? In addition to the Colorado River the Ogalala Aquifer that serves Texas and several other Southwestern States is being depleted at a record rate. Will this ultimately result in more pressure to divert GLs water is anyone's guess. Perhaps we Great Lakes dwellers need to begin to take the idea to task and insure adequate public awareness of this looming threat.
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Old 28-05-2022, 09:17   #6
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Re: Great Lakes Diversions

Yes - the demands, on Great Lakes water, are copious, and increasing.

Although the total volume in the lakes is vast, on average, less than 1 percent of the waters of the Great Lakes is renewed annually, by precipitation, surface water runoff, and inflow, from groundwater sources.
They are, actually, a [more or less] finite resource.

The future of water diversions largely depends on the severity of climate change, and what that will look like across the continent [& beyond*].
There is also the possibility of mass migration to the Great Lakes. People may come to the basin, a place that experts say will be the least affected by climate change, and use the water here, instead of diverting it.

* In 1998, the Nova Group gained a permit, from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, to export approximately 160 million gallons per year (an average 0.4 mgd) of Lake Superior water, to Asia, in bulk containers. The permit was later revoked, due to objections of Great Lakes governors, and citizens.

GREAT LAKES—ST. LAWRENCE RIVER BASIN SUSTAINABLE WATER
RESOURCES AGREEMENT

https://gsgp.org/media/nvzkrpyv/grea..._agreement.pdf

Great Lakes Agreement and Compact
https://gsgp.org/media/qjpdf1gr/grea...es_compact.pdf
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Old 28-05-2022, 11:55   #7
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Re: Great Lakes Diversions

You want water?
Go where the water is
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Old 28-05-2022, 12:35   #8
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Re: Great Lakes Diversions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joefiss View Post
Greetings all. I am a bit curious to the reaction the people here on diverting water to the Southwestern US. It seems calls are increasing to tap the Great Lakes and pipe water to states that are currently in a mega drought situation.

As I understand it, the Great Lakes watershed is currently a mostly healthy and self-sustaining system. The US south, with the number of people living an unsupportable water-heavy existence, and the over-reliance on irrigation, currently seems to have an unnatural and out of balance system. Taking water from the Great Lakes would potentially break a working system to prop up a broken one. And of course, climate change continues with only modest effort at limiting its progress...

It may become thinkable to divert some water from the Great Lakes, but it's a move of last resort, I hope.
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Old 28-05-2022, 12:52   #9
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Re: Great Lakes Diversions

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As I understand it, the Great Lakes ...
Great Lakes Volume and Transit Facts
• The Great Lakes contain 95% of the surface water volume of the United States.
• The Great Lakes contain 84% of the surface water volume of North America.
Only 1% of the volume of the Great Lakes is renewed annually from precipitation and runoff; the water balance of the Lakes is delicate.
• The average drop of water takes 173 years to pass through Lake Superior.
• The average drop of water takes 204 years to pass from Lake Superior to the ocean.

More ofWhat Everyone Should Know About the Great Lakes”
https://forloveofwater.org/everyone-know-great-lakes/
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Old 28-05-2022, 12:54   #10
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Re: Great Lakes Diversions

The southwest can simply import more bottled water.



Or they can do as is done in Singapore, just recycle their local sewerage water to be potable water supply which is cleverly branded NEWater. That certainly reduces the transportation costs and avoids the geopolitics of water scarcity.

NEWater is finer than the finest.

Yummy in the tummy.

The Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) is a 48km-long “superhighway” for Singapore’s used water, with the second phase under construction and planned for completion in 2025. The DTSS will carry used water to water reclamation plants for treatment, before it is purified further to become NEWater.

There is also talk of pumping seawater from the Pacific to resupply the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Since that involves a lot of altitude and distance that would be a very expensive infrastructure and operational cost prospect.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/ca...dea/ar-AAXqmUP

Utah lawmakers will study the possibility of a pipeline to bring water from the Pacific Ocean to the Great Salt Lake.

During the Utah Legislative Water Development Commission meeting [the week before last] Tuesday, lawmakers voted to include that in their list of items to study over the next few months before the legislative session next year.

“Dire times call for dire measures,” said Rep. Carl Albrecht (R-Richfield). “Water’s going to become pretty valuable for drinking, sewer, and irrigation. We run pipelines all over this country full of gas and oil and whatever.”



In the meantime, a company I have cofounded is working diligently to commercialize an atmospheric water vapor harvesting technology that was invented at a National Laboratory of the U.S. Dept of Energy to provide for heating, cooling, ventilation, enhanced force of drying, and the production of pure liquid water with tremendous efficiency.
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Old 28-05-2022, 13:01   #11
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Re: Great Lakes Diversions

It’s inevitable. Politicians ultimately control the water. Likely the only saving factor is that the ore and grain ships via the lakes, and for that water is needed.
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Old 28-05-2022, 15:49   #12
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Re: Great Lakes Diversions

There have been proposals for huge water transfers starting in the 1950s when they were not really needed. The two big ones I remember were the NAWAPA scheme to move water down the Rocky Mountain Trench from northern and central western Canada and the Grand Canal which was to take water from east of James/Hudson Bay into the Great Lakes and then west to the dry bits of the US. They went nowhere for political, cost, environmental and technological reasons. The economic situation has changed (somewhat) but the other three remain.
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Old 28-05-2022, 16:27   #13
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Re: Great Lakes Diversions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
As I understand it, the Great Lakes watershed is currently a mostly healthy and self-sustaining system. The US south, with the number of people living an unsupportable water-heavy existence, and the over-reliance on irrigation, currently seems to have an unnatural and out of balance system. Taking water from the Great Lakes would potentially break a working system to prop up a broken one. And of course, climate change continues with only modest effort at limiting its progress...

It may become thinkable to divert some water from the Great Lakes, but it's a move of last resort, I hope.
3yrs ago we did a land trip that included following the Colorado River to the Mexican border. Here is a photo of what California and Arizona left for the Mexicans ...
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Old 28-05-2022, 17:13   #14
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Re: Great Lakes Diversions

In 2017-19 Floods most of Toronto islands went under. In 2017 the natives said it was the 100 year flood.
Lake Ontario was 1 1/2 meter up. We could not let more water out or we’d drown Laval in Montreal already 5,000 homes damaged.
I think the Great Lakes group is well aware flooding will increase and Ontario’s springs continue to bubble over. In Georgian Bay it was like a 7 year tide for 50 years now its dramatic but Lake Ontario and Champlain dramatic.
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Old 28-05-2022, 17:25   #15
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Re: Great Lakes Diversions

A few thoughts:
  • I remember hearing an old saying out west: "whiskey is for drink'n and water is for fight'n over". I would imagine if they try and tap the Great Lakes it will be one helluva fight.
  • As someone who lives in the basin I would never support a diversion plan. The reason the southwest is is such a mess now is because we tried to 'engineer' nature.
  • The Columbia river ranks 36th world wide in discharge to the ocean. Seems to me that it would be more feasible (but just as dumb) to divert water from there than from the Great Lakes.
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