The Great Lakes Compact

Growing fears of large-scale diversions from the Great Lakes to thirsty Sunbelt and farm states sparked discussions in the 1980s, then more serious negotiations after 2000 between the state and provincial governments of the Basin to ensure that Great Lakes freshwater stays in the Great Lakes. These talks ultimately led to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Compact, signed by all eight Great Lakes governors in 2005, which proponents called an all-encompassing agreement that freshwater resources shall (in most cases) not be diverted or exported outside the Basin. On October 3, 2008, President George W. Bush signed the federal Compact legislation. During this same time period, the eight states and Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec signed a parallel agreement that tracks the Compact.

FLOW continues to monitor implementation of the Compact and Agreement with periodic updates, and a comprehensive analysis forthcoming in 2022.