Great Lakes Regional Water Use Database
For twenty years, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River states and provinces have submitted water use data to a database managed by the Great Lakes Commission to support the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Water Resources Compact and Agreement. This data includes withdrawals, consumptive uses and diversions by type of use, water source, jurisdiction and watershed. Each year, the GLC compiles and summarizes these datasets into an annual report.
In addition to producing an annual report on the usage of Great Lakes waters, the GLC, in partnership with water use managers from the states and provinces, continues to assess ways to improve data quality and the collective understanding of water uses in the region. A meeting of the region’s water use managers was convened in August 2016 to review and update processes and protocols for reporting and to explore opportunities to develop complementary information, such as demand forecasts for key water use sectors.
The Great Lakes Regional Water Uses Database provides comparable water use information on withdrawals, diversions and consumptive uses. This database supports the states and provinces in implementing Article 4 of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and Article 301 of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement. Under the Compact and the Agreement, the parties (states and provinces) are required to report water use information to the regional database repository and aggregated information will be made available to the public on an annual basis. In 2012, the database was redesigned to comply with the Interim State/Provincial Reporting Protocols to the Regional Water Use Database, adopted by the Regional Body and Compact Council on December 8, 2009.
The Great Lakes Regional Water Use Database has been around for over 20 years! Originally, it was established by the Great Lakes states and provinces in response to the recommendation of the Great Lakes Charter of 1985, which calls for a uniform, consistent base of data of Great Lakes water withdrawals, diversions and consumptive uses. Beginning in 1987, water use data have been submitted to the repository on an annual basis and reports provided to assist the jurisdictions in Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River water resources planning and management. As specified by the Water Resources Management Committee in its 1987 report, Managing the Waters of the Great Lakes Basin, the database catalogs withdrawals by water use category, sub-basin and jurisdiction.
Funding for this project has been provided by the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers.