(updated October 13, 2006)
AP writer John Flesher has a review on the new book The Great Lakes Water Wars by Newsweek correspondent Peter Annin (Island Press). The books central premise is that an era of warring over the Great Lakes is under way, and that the lakes’ future and the region’s way of life hang in the balance as leaders grapple with the challenge of preserving almost one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water.
Annin says that a visit to the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan, once the world’s 4th largest inland water body that has been ravaged by water withdrawal, provided a dark kind of inspiration:
“It kind of defies the bounds of the mind to grasp how dire the ecological situation is there. When you’re standing on the bottom of a sea bed where there should have been water 45 feet over your head, and instead there’s none as far as the eye can see, how do you describe that?”
Read Book: Water battle on Great Lakes to intensify in the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
Update (Oct 13, 2006)
Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry has an interview with Peter Annin that you will probably want to check out. In Jack’s accompanying essay, he says that water-poor states like Texas and Arizona are increasing their political clout relative to Midwestern states like Michigan and Ohio. As to where to start working to head off problems (or water wars), he suggests that
We could start with the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact, signed last year by all eight states which border the lakes. This agreement prevents most new water diversions, and requires every state to have a water conservation plan. Ontario and Quebec have signed a companion agreement. But for the Compact to have any clout, the legislatures of all eight states have to ratify it.
Not one has yet done so.
Click for more information on the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact from Absolute Michigan, visit the Great Lakes Water Wars / Peter Annin web site and click the photo below to see more photos of the Aral Sea.