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Water Resources Development Act of 1986

Contact: Jim Bredin 517-335-4232

As amended September, 2000

1962d-20. Prohibition on Great Lakes Diversions

(a) The Congress finds and declares that -

  1. The Great Lakes are the most important natural resource to the eight great Lakes States and two Canadian provinces, providing water supply for domestic and industrial use, clean energy through hydropower production, an efficient transportation mode for moving products into and out of the great Lakes region, and recreational uses for millions of United States and Canadian citizens;
  2. the Great Lakes need to be carefully managed and protected to meet current and needs within the Great Lakes basin and Canadian provinces;
  3. any new diversions of Great lakes water for use outside of the Great Lakes basin will have significant economic and environmental impacts, adversely affecting the use of this resource by the Great Lakes states and Canadian provinces; and
  4. four of the Great Lakes are international waters and are defined as boundary waters in the Boundary Water Treaty of 1909 between the United States and Canada, and as such any new diversion of Great Lakes water in the united States would affect the relations of the Government of the United States with the Government of Canada.

(b) It is therefore declared to be the purpose and policy of the Congress in this action -

  1. to take immediate action to protect the limited quantity of water available from the Great Lakes system for use by the Great Lakes States and in accordance with the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909;
  2. to encourage the Great Lakes States, in consultation with the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec, to develop and implement a mechanism that provides a common conservation standard embodying the principles of water conservation and resource improvement for making decisions concerning the withdrawal and use of water from the Great Lakes Basin;
  3. to prohibit any diversion of Great Lakes water by any State, Federal agency, or private entity for use outside the Great Lakes basin unless such diversion is approved by the Governor of each of the Great Lakes States; and
  4. to prohibit any Federal agency from undertaking any studies that would involve the transfer of Great Lakes water for any purpose for use outside the Great Lakes basin.

(c) As used in this section, the term "Great Lakes State" means each of the States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Wisconsin.

(d) No water shall be diverted or exported from any portion of the Great Lakes within the United States, from any tributary within the United States of any of the Great Lakes, for use outside the Great Lake basin unless such diversion or export is approved by the Governor of each of the Great Lakes States.

(e) No Federal agency may undertake an study, or expend any Federal funds to contract for any study, of the feasibility of diverting water from any portion of the Great Lakes within the United States, or from any tributary within the United States of any of the great Lakes, for use outside the Great Lakes basin, unless such study or expenditure is approved by the Governors of each of the Great Lakes States. The prohibition of the preceding sentence shall not apply to any study or data collection effort performed by the Corps of Engineers or other Federal agency under the direction of the International Joint Commission in accordance with the Boundary Waters treaty of 1909.

(f) This section shall not apply to any diversion of water from any of the Great Lakes which is authorized on the date of the enactment of this Act.

(Nov. 17, 1986, P.L. 99-662, Title XI, 1109, 100 Stat. 4230.)

Related Content
 •  Lake Michigan Diversion Consent Decree Summary PDF icon
 •  Lake Michigan Diversion Consent Decree Summary (Wisconsin v. Illinois) PDF icon
 •  Great Lakes Charter
 •  Great Lakes Charter Annex 2001  PDF icon
 •  Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909
 •  Current Great Lakes Diversions
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