Watershed protection guidelines outlined in New York Great Lakes Basin Advisory Council report

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Oct. 12, 2010 -- The New York Great Lakes Basin Advisory Council today released the final report, Our Great Lakes Water Resources: Conserving and Protecting Our Water Today for Use Tomorrow. The report guides state implementation of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact by identifying key recommendations to ensure sustainable protections for New York's Great Lakes watershed.

New York adopted the Great Lakes St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact in 2008. The Compact is a binding agreement between the eight Great Lakes states -- New York, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota -- to protect water quantity, by banning large scale diversions and promoting water conservation. New York's Great Lakes Basin Advisory Council ( GLBAC ), of which the state Department of Environmental Conservation is a member, was required to deliberate and develop recommendations to implement the Compact.

Richard Smardon, GLBAC Chair said: "The report provides a road map for state legislators and regulators to ensure New York's full compliance with the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact."

The report was first released in draft form in June 2009 and now incorporates hundreds of citizen, industry, municipal, and scientific comments submitted and provided at public meetings. The final report is available on DEC website and the key recommendations include:

  • Pass legislation to regulate water withdrawals statewide.
  • Increase information collection on aquifer and stream flows.
  • Establish incentives to promote business and residential water conservation.
  • Invest substantially to reduce leaks in water infrastructure.

The Great Lakes Basin Advisory Council ( Council ) was established in the Laws of New York State of 1988 ( ECL Section 21-0917 ). In the statute creating the Council, the New York State Legislature declared that the Great Lakes Basin is in need of state programs to protect its water quality against toxic pollution, to control interbasin diversions of Great Lakes water, to ensure sound coastal zone management, and to promote compatible economic growth and utilization throughout its watershed.

The Council consists of 19 members who advise the Governor, Legislature and Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation on matters relating to the State's role in regional, federal, and international activities aimed at protecting the quality and quantity of water in the Great Lakes, domestic, municipal, industrial and agricultural water supplies, navigation, hydroelectric power and energy production, recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, and a balanced ecosystem that are all vital to the future environmental, social and economic health of New York State and the other states and provinces comprising the Great Lakes region.

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