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Recommendations for Implementing the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact

Our Great Lakes Water Resources:
Conserving and Protecting Our Water Today for Use Tomorrow

In response to a 2008 directive of the New York State Legislature, the Great Lakes Basin Advisory Council (GLBAC) has released its final report on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (Compact). The report is meant to guide New York's implementation of the requirements of the Compact. It indentifies key recommendations to ensure sustainable protections for New York's Great Lakes watershed.

The Compact is a binding agreement between all eight Great Lakes states to protect water quantity by banning large scale diversions and promoting water conservation. The New York State legislature adopted it on March 4, 2008, and directed the GLBAC to deliberate and develop recommendations on its implementation.

The report, first released in draft form in June 2009, incorporates and responds to hundreds of comments from citizens, industries, municipalities, and scientists. The Council heard directly from the public at meetings it held last summer in Buffalo, Rochester, Cortland, Watertown and Albany.

The report advises policymakers on six main areas:

  1. Water Threshold Levels for Management and Regulation
  2. Water Withdrawal Permitting or Alternative Program
  3. State Water Conservation & Efficiency Program
  4. Establishing the Baseline
  5. Collection and Application of Scientific Information
  6. Implementation Costs, Fees, and Revenue Streams

Key Report Recommendations include:

  • Passing final legislation to regulate water withdrawals statewide
  • Increasing information collection on aquifer and stream flows
  • Establishing incentives to promote business and residential water conservation
  • Investing substantially to reduce leaks in water infrastructure

The Council believes that the effort invested in this document will support New York's Governor, Legislature and citizens in fully implementing the Compact.

View the final report: Our Great Lakes Water Resources (PDF) (1.43 MB)

Additional Information

The Compact is contained in New York Environmental Conservation Law Article 21, Title 10 (PDF) (116 KB).

For Further Information on the Compact and other States/Provincial Programs, please visit the Council of Great Lakes Governors website using the offsite link in the right column.