World Water Day

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Today is World Water Day, focusing attention on the importance of water. The theme for World Water Day 2018 is Nature for Water – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges of the 21st century.  

In Michigan, citizens are rallying to call attention to the failure of state policymakers to protect our water.  Shannon Abbott, vice president of the Grand Rapids Water Protectors, said water contamination has been largely ignored by state officials.   

Pressing issues for the Great Lakes

FLOW shares these concerns and others related to water:

  • The state’s failure to exercise its public trust prerogatives to shut down the Enbridge Line 5 pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.  A rupture of one of these lines would have catastrophic impacts in Michigan.
  • The state’s failure to block efforts by Nestle to dramatically increase its Michigan water extraction to increase private profits it derives from selling the public’s water.
  • Proposals to install factory fish farms in the open waters of the Great Lakes.
  • State legislative efforts to give special interests veto power over state rules protecting water and other resources.
  • A state legislative proposal to give automatic approval of major water withdrawal proposals for factory farms — and keep the information on which the withdrawals are based from becoming public.

These policies are inconsistent with the wishes of Michigan citizens.  They want clean, abundant water. World Water Day is an opportunity to speak out for our water and the Great Lakes.

High stakes

Here’s what’s at stake in Great Lakes protection:

  • The Great Lakes contain almost 20% of the surface freshwater in the world.
  • The Great Lakes contain 84% of the surface water supply of North America.
  • Only 1% of the volume of the Great Lakes is renewed annually from precipitation and runoff; the water balance of the Lakes is delicate.
  • The average drop of water takes 191 years to pass through Lake Superior.
  • Spread evenly across the 48 contiguous states, the Great Lakes would turn the U.S. into a swimming pool 9.5 feet deep.
  • There are approximately 35,000 islands in the Great Lakes, including the largest lake island in the world, Manitoulin.
  • There are about 10,900 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 200 miles less than the distance between Detroit and Perth, Australia.
  • Measured by surface area, Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Huron is third, Lake Michigan is fourth, Lake Erie is tenth and Lake Ontario is twelfth.
  • Lake Superior could contain all the other Great Lakes plus three more lakes the size of Lake Erie.
  • Eight states and Ontario border the Great Lakes.  Michigan is the only state almost entirely within the Great Lakes watershed.

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