President George W. Bush signs the Great Lakes Compact into law.
The agreement not only protects one of the world's largest freshwater sources from long-range diversions, but it also gives the Great Lakes states the legal framework for the sustainable management of this incredible water system. The Great Lakes contain more than 90% of the fresh surface water in the United States, and 20% of the world's supply. However, less than one percent of the Great Lakes water is renewed each year, leaving the lakes vulnerable to depletion.
Governor Jim Doyle, Chairman of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, says the signing of the Compact is an historic accomplishment for our region's greatest natural resource. It's the culmination of years of hard work among eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces, conservationists, government agencies, businesses, and the public.
Doyle says one of our greatest competitive advantages in the global economy is our water, which helps to grow industries and draw businesses to this region. The Great Lakes are essential to transportation and shipping, they drive recreation and tourism, and they sustain cities.