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Lecture 11

Lecture 11 - Management and Future of the Lakes.pdf

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Earth Sciences
Luc Bernier

Management and Future of the Lakes Part 1 - Water Management in Canada Water Management in Canada  Constitution Act of 1867: gives provinces proprietary rights over surface waters and groundwater o The provinces hold therefore most regulatory powers o They can determine the allocation and use of freshwater o They also oversee their use in thermal and hydropower development o The provinces have control over their regulation of the flow of rivers, water use and development and pollution control  Constitution Act of 1867: Federal is responsible for navigation and fisheries o Because the great lakes are boundary waters and there are fisheries in the basin it means that both the federal and provincial government of Ontario are involved in solving issues o It also explains why the Canadian coast guard is present on the great lakes Water Regulation in Canada  Regulations: rules of conduct which a ministry in charge is empowered to make to facilitate the carrying out of an Act of Parliament o Regulations are important tools in water management o All provinces and territories in Canada have pollution control regulations largely aimed at contaminants they control and determine their concentrations and how they may enter the environment o For example the amount of phosphate found in detergents is regulated in order to reduce and minimize the risks of eutrophication Water Regulation & the First Nations  Federal government: responsible for managing water in its own “federal house” o This means the first nations reserves, Nunavut, and the northwest territories o Indian and northern affairs Canada manages water resources in the Northwest territories and Nunavut o The provision of safe drinking water and the treatment of wastewater on first nations reserves are shared responsibilities between first nations and the federal government o In the Yukon these responsibilities have been transferred to local government in 2003 History of Water Management in Canada  In the early days between 1867 and 1945 the efforts of the federal and provincial governments were focused on issues with the US, regulations at the international level, and the evolution of provincial laws from purely property rights  A shift in the approach to water management started in 1935: with the Prairie Rehabilitation Act, and creation of the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration Management and Future of the Lakes o This act established in 1935 by parliament was done in response to the widespread drought in the prairies and farm abandonment and land degradation of the 1930s o This act created the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration to propose sustainable development on the rural prairies in the areas of soils, air and what is most important here water o Prairie dust storm  1945-1965: specific concerns addressed o Niagara River Water Diversion Treaty (1950) between Canada and the US concerning the uses of the waters of the Niagara river was signed in 1950 o Its purpose is to preserve an increase the scenic beauty of Niagara Falls and the Niagara River while providing for the most beneficial use of the river waters o Limitations on the amount of water diverted from the river for power generation purposes established by prior agreements were terminated and replaced by the 1950 treaty o In general, during the spirit of time the emphasis was on small dams and community water supplies o There was a redefinition of the responsibilities between provinces and the federal government o Surveys of resources were conducted and the protection of watersheds started to be implemented o The use of waterways for logging and navigation issues were other areas of attention o Finally, the integration of interprovincial developments were discussed  1965-1985: emphasis on economic development o Flood control as well as economic and hydroelectric developments were given emphasis o The opening of the St. Lawrence Sea Way in 1959 and the Columbia River Treaty in 1961 are precursors of this period  1985 – now: limits on freshwater use in areas depleted in water have been implemented o The paper and allied products sector uses and recycles enormous quantities of water in Canada and there are mounting concerns over this o During the same period various agreements between governments were achieved with the objectives of simplifying management of water resources and addressing environmental issues o The remedial action plans in the great lakes illustrate this trend Part 2 - Major Diversion Proposals Major Diversion Proposals  A number of proposals have been made over the years to: divert water to water-poor areas of the US o These are massive engineering schemes proposed by entrepreneurs interested in selling the water and benefitting from improved water supply to their area Management and Future of the Lakes NAWAPA  As proposed in the 1960s water from Alaska and northwestern Canada would be diverted to southern states of the US o One of the schemes that never materialized o North American Water and Power Alliance The Mississippi Diversion  In the 1970s the US Army Corps of Engineers suggested the diversion of water away from the Great Lakes to compensate for the rapid depletion of groundwater from the Ogallala aquifer in the mid-west of the US o This diversion would have occurred via the Mississippi river o The project also called Fort Canal to carry water from the great lakes to the rapidly growing economies in the southwest o These ideas never materialized as they were opposed by all the great lake stated within the US and the province of Ontario The GRAND  Great Recycling and Northern Development Canal  Plan called for turning James Bay: into a freshwater lake o This project was proposed in the 1950s and was revived in 1985 o The dam would have been built to prevent mixing of freshwater with salt water from Hudson Bay o Freshwater would have been pumped over the arctic divide and transferred into the great lakes o Water from the great lakes in turn would have been diverted for sale to the western states within the US o The project would have required an estimated 100 billion dollars Canadian and the support of provinces of Ontario and Quebec. all the states within the US bordering the great lakes, and the federal governments of both countries o The project never materialized as it faced fierce opposition  Great Lakes water in turn be diverted for sale to: The Future?  As this map indicates water scarcity and demand keeps increasing in the southwest of the US Management and Future of the Lakes  So it is likely that these diversion schemes will be revisited and discussed again in the future  Annual Consumption Of Freshwater At The End Of The 1990s in the United States Part 3 - Joint Management of the Great Lakes 1985 Great Lakes Charter  For economic reasons initially this was created  There is large potentials attached to the great lakes  What are the potential impacts of diverting this water from the Great Lakes to other areas? How are the Great Lakes jointly managed?  Through agreements between Canada and the U.S.: o Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 o All the boundary waters between Canada and US not just the great lakes o Great Lakes Fishery Commission o Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement 1972 Management and Future of the Lakes o Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement 1978 o Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement 1987 o A lot of this work is done for collaboration between different agencies and between provinces and states International Joint Commission  Created by the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty  In terms of habitats and using water resources for energy generation  There are 6 members; 3 from Canada and 3 from the US  Members from the US aren’t there to look after American interests only all members look after both countries interests  They are there to make sure the solutions devised are the best for everyone involved  They can ask for studies to be conducted and the work done around the great lakes led to water quality agreements  They are often asked to mediate disputed between different states and different provinces The Great Lakes Fishery Commission  1955: Commission established to find a means of control for the lamprey o One of the first signs there were issues with the great lakes was with the introduction of sea lampreys  Sea lampreys entered the great lakes through the Welland canal in the 1920s  The sea lampreys population boomed during the 1950s and 19602  Late 1970s: lamprey population reduced
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