A translation by Judith Turcotte

The St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes represent one of the most important freshwater basins in the world. More than 40 million people live on the shores of this basin and depend on this water for their consumption and the irrigation of their farm land. We worry about the pollution of this water and the effects of global warming on this basin; however, we must also worry about the quantity of water available because many regions suffering from drought would like to tap into this resource.

The rarity of freshwater in the world has become a serious problem and one must not believe that the consequences of this rarity will not be felt by us. We are amazingly fortunate to live along this basin. The pressure and the efforts from the outside to tap into this resource became such a source of concern that the governors and prime ministers of the neighbouring States and Provinces have developed a plan to protect this water. I had written <<our waters>> but I changed my mind. In the world today where the national borders mean nothing when it comes to questions of climate change, by what right can we claim that this water belongs to us? This water belongs to the planet and we are no more than its guardians. We will not have the choice of one day sharing this resource and we have to consider the conditions surrounding this sharing to ensure its sustainability.

The plan for its protection had been developed about twenty years ago at a time when climate change and global warming only forecasted possible future upheavals. This reality has caught up with us and we are beginning to experience the effects of this global warming. We can expect heavy rains over certain months and drought over other months with the consequence of increased needs for the irrigation of farm land. Scientists predict that the level of the Great Lakes should remain stable with the possibility of a slight decrease provided that the protection of its waters remains. If the consequences of global warming have little impact on us, the consequences are devastating elsewhere in the world and the basin of the Great Lakes represents a solution to the problems.

For the population, the climate change and global warming of the planet are still difficult to believe and to understand. As regards to the global warming of the planet, the effects have become very real with the increase in temperature. The lack of freshwater is also a difficult reality to believe because we live surrounded by water. On a map of the world, the blue of the oceans takes up a lot of space but 97% of this water is salty and unsuitable for agriculture and for consumption.

Any regulation on the utilization of freshwater is a delicate and emotional subject. The farmers, faced with a lack of water, complain that they can no longer feed the planet and the countries lacking water complain that their population is unable to hydrate. Some of them will want to send tankers to collect freshwater from the basin and the southern states will want to dig canals or pipelines to obtain water essential for greening their golf courses. Could other sources of freshwater help solve these problems? The answer in my next blog.

1 thought on “FRESHWATER, a Rarity”

  1. Your point about the water of the St. Lawrence belonging to the planet is well taken. I will be eagerly looking forward to your next blog.
    Perhaps one of the answers is in desalination of sea water, surely cheaper than transportation half way around the world.
    Janet Sader


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