Irrigating Industry

Is the Great Lakes Compact Being Drowned for Industrial Gain?

The Great Lakes region has a long history of protecting the freshwater contained in the five lakes that give the eight-state region its name. The Great Lakes Compact, a binding agreement ratified in 2008 that establishes a specific system for controlling water withdrawals outside the confines of the Great Lakes Basin, is the most recent method of protection. This Note argues that the Compact needs to be strengthened given recent threats to its power, particularly after Wisconsin’s approval of a seven million-gallon-per-day water diversion outside of the Basin for use by the newly constructed Foxconn manufacturing facility. In doing so, this Note explores the history of water regulation in the region, including the specific history of diversion requests outside the Basin. The Great Lakes Compact establishes a strong system for water regulation, but it must be updated to effectively join the Great Lakes states together as they work to ensure the continued vitality of the natural resource so central to the region.

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.