Great Lakes Water Agreements

The Great Lakes—St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement 

Through the Council of Great Lakes Governors, the Governors of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and the Premiers of Ontario and Québec are taking the lead in protecting the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin.  The Great Lakes Governors and Premiers recognize that:

  • There are threats to the Basin now, and they could increase in the future.  We are looking ahead and taking protective steps to avoid conflicts and shortages.
  • The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin is critical to our economy.  We must use the water wisely to help ensure that it remains at healthy levels and to maintain our region’s competitive economic advantage.

On December 13, 2005, the Great Lakes Governors and Premiers signed the Great Lakes—St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement (Agreement).  At the same time, the Governors endorsed the companion Great Lakes—St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact(Compact) which became law on December 8, 2008.  These agreements, developed through the Council of Great Lakes Governors, detail how the States and Provinces will manage and protect the Basin and provide a framework for each State and Province to enact measures for its protection.

These International Agreements can be significant legal tools that Tribes and First Nations can use to protect their interests in the natural resources of the Great Lakes.

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