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Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Opposes Waukesha Diversion from Lake Michigan

Posted on February 17, 2016
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, representing mayors across the Great Lakes basin, sent letters to the governors and premiers of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence basin strongly urging them to reject the application from the City of Waukesha, Wisconsin to divert water out of the Great Lakes basin. The city of Waukesha has applied to divert up to an annual average of  approximately 38,000 cubic metres of water per day to serve the area's water supply from Lake Michigan, to then be discharged into the Root River. On January 7, 2016, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recommended the approval of the application [...]

Flint's Water Crisis

Posted on February 3, 2016
News outlets have recently picked up on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. However, residents in Flint have been living without a safe and reliable water supply for almost two years. Here is what we know so far. [...]

Shifts in Water Temperature, Availability Could Mean Less Electricity

Posted on January 6, 2016
A recent study on the effects of climate change on hydroelectric and thermoelectric power plants shows the disruption of water resources could have a harsh impact on electricity production. Change in water temperatures and a decrease of streamflows will lead to a reduction of electricity for more than half of the world’s power plants in 15 years, said the study from the journal Nature Climate Change. A thermoelectric plant depends on freshwater to cool its systems, while hydropower plants need water to move turbines and generate energy. According to the study, together these two power-generation systems contribute to approximately [...]

U.S. Bans Microbeads, Canada Could Follow

Posted on January 6, 2016
The U.S. has joined the battle against polyethylene microbeads by banning the use of the tiny plastic pellets commonly used as exfoliants in cosmetic care products. President Barack Obama signed a bill December 28, 2015 prohibiting companies from manufacturing or using microbeads (tiny pieces of polymers between 0.1 micrometres and 5 mm) in common personal care products like soap, face wash, and toothpaste. Many politicians, researchers, and environmental groups in Canada and the U.S. oppose the use of microbeads because of the potential damage they serve to marine environments once they flow down the drain and into waterways. The [...]

Great Lakes Mayors Commit to Reduce 30 Million Tonnes of CO2

Posted on December 11, 2015
While the negotiations of the 21st Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP21) edged closer to an agreement in Paris, a group of Great Lakes mayors returned to North America from a meeting of 446 mayors around the world who have made their own commitment to be part of the solution. At a press conference in Toronto on Friday, December 11, mayor Denis Lapointe of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec said, “We are fully aware of the reality of climate change and the threats it presents to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence, our cities, and citizens. Intense storms, dramatic changes in water levels, severe algal blooms, and more are [...]

British Columbia and Alaska Sign MOU to Protect Transboundary Waters and the Environment

Posted on November 26, 2015
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed this week by Premier Christy Clark and State of Alaska Governor Bill Walker strengthens cross-border partnerships between British Columbia and Alaska in many areas of common interest including mining and transboundary water. However, many groups on both sides of the border are concerned that the agreement does not go far enough towards protecting salmon and watersheds from another mining disaster like the Imperial Metals Mount Polley breach. “British Columbia and Alaska share a lot of common interests that transcend borders, and a long history of working together,” said British Columbia Premier [...]

A Nose for Drinking Water Quality

Posted on September 10, 2015
Imagine a future where drinking water operators use a simple “sniff test” to tell you if the water is contaminated. Scientists from the Seoul National University believe this may be possible, after developing a bio-electronic nose that can smell contaminated water. The new technology is part of a growing field known as “electronic sensing” or “e-sensing” where human sensory perception is mimicked electronically. Bacteria that contaminate water give off smells that are associated with particular smell molecules. Two typical odours - earthy and musty - are caused by two different molecules: geosmin (GSM) and 2-methylisoborneol [...]

Federal Government Developing Phosphorus Reduction Targets in Lake Erie

Posted on July 13, 2015
On July 9, federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced the launch of public consultations on the recommended phosphorus reduction targets for Lake Erie. The development of reduction targets are a key feature of the Canada-United States Great Lakes Quality Agreement, signed in 2012. “The Great Lakes are a vast shared resource containing a significant portion of the world’s fresh water,” Aglukkaq said. “They provide the foundation for billions of dollars in economic activity, and they are a direct source of drinking water for millions of Canadians. The phosphorus reduction targets being proposed for Lake Erie are an [...]

Leaders Pledge Water Quality Improvements for Lake Erie

Posted on June 15, 2015
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and leaders from other Great Lakes states and Canada gathered in Quebec City for the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers on June 13. At the conference, the leaders signed an agreement that will greatly improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie basin. Snyder, along with Ohio Governor John Kasich, represented by Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, pledged a combined effort to reduce phosphorus inputs to the western waters of Lake Erie by 40 percent over the next 10 years, with an interim goal of a 20-percent reduction by 2020. Phosphorus is one [...]

Nice-Pak Wet Wipes Not So Flushable: FTC

Posted on May 20, 2015
Nice-Pak, makers of a variety of personal wipes and a supplier to big-brand retailers like Costco, CVS, Target, and BJ’s Wholesale Club, has agreed to stop advertising its moist toilet tissues as “flushable,” the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said on May 18. Under the FTC settlement, Nice-Pak cannot claim that their wipes are safe for sewer and septic tanks unless the company can actually substantiate these claims. The FTC said Nice-Pak's flushability claims gave vendors the means to make similar false assertions about products being safe to flush. This announcement from the United States is long overdue, said Barry Orr [...]
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