Blue Accounting launches collaborative effort to protect Great Lakes source water
Last week, the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) brought together water professionals from around the Great Lakes basin to discuss regional goals for protecting source water. Source water includes the lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater that more than 48 million people in the basin rely on for drinking, sanitation, agriculture, and manufacturing purposes. Protecting our source water before it is treated and delivered to homes and businesses is essential for maintaining public health, a high quality of life, and sustaining the regional economy.
The meeting launched the Great Lakes Source Water Initiative, a pilot project under the GLC and The Nature Conservancy’s new Blue Accounting initiative. Blue Accounting helps leaders across the basin manage the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem in a more collaborative, effective and holistic manner.
“Our fresh water is a global treasure that requires thoughtful management in both the United States and Canada,” said Victoria Pebbles, GLC program director. “The Great Lakes Source Water Initiative seeks to protect drinking water at its source by measuring how investments made to protect and improve source water are meeting our regional goals and desired outcomes.”
The Initiative will identify shared regional goals and develop metrics for tracking progress toward those goals by transforming key data into useful information. It will also highlight information gaps that can help decision-makers adjust future investments to ensure they are best protecting Great Lakes source water. Ultimately, these efforts – along with other Blue Accounting pilot projects – will use a web-based platform to help deliver the right information to allow Great Lakes leaders more effectively set priorities and allocate resources.
Blue Accounting is being developed through a partnership between the GLC and The Nature Conservancy with cornerstone support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and additional support from the Dow Family Foundation, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation and the Joyce Foundation. Learn more about Blue Accounting at www.BlueAccounting.org.
The Great Lakes Commission, led by chairman Jon Allan, director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more at www.glc.org.