Great Lakes—St. Lawrence River Basin
Water Resources Council

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Through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council, the region’s Governors cooperatively manage 20% of the world’s surface fresh water.  The Compact Council’s award-winning work protects the largest freshwater body on earth, which provides drinking water to over 40 million people.

The Compact Council

  • Fosters economic development through the sustainable use and responsible management of Basin waters.
  • In general, bans new diversions of water from the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin but limited exceptions could be allowed in nearby communities when rigorous standards are met.
  • Provides communities that apply for an exception with a clear, predictable decision making process; standards to be met; and, opportunities to appeal decisions.
  • Has developed regional goals and objectives for water conservation and efficiency, and regularly reviews them. Each State has also developed and implemented a water conservation and efficiency program that may be voluntary or mandatory.
  • Manages a framework for how the States coordinate water use in their jurisdiction, using a consistent standard to review proposed uses of water. The States have flexibility regarding their water management programs and how to apply this standard.  
  • Spearheads a regional science strategy to ensure that the best available information, knowledge and decision making tools are being used.
  • Is committed to continued, and ongoing public involvement.

The Compact Council includes the eight Great Lakes Governors of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  They work closely with one another and the Regional Body, which includes the Governors and the Canadian Premiers of Ontario and Québec, to protect the region’s waters and ensure that they remain at healthy levels.

All Compact Council meetings are open to the public and comprehensive information is publicly available.

For More Information

The Conference of Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers serves as the Compact Council’s Secretariat.  The phone number is (312) 407-0177.  For additional information, please visit the Compact Council’s website www.glslcompactcouncil.org


February 2022