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The War Over Water

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The War Over Water

Canada dreads becoming water supplier to the United States--draining its lakes to fill California swimming pools, water Arizona golf courses, irrigate Midwestern farms and ease East Coast drough.

Canada dreads becoming water supplier to the United States--draining its lakes to fill California swimming pools, water Arizona golf courses, irrigate Midwestern farms and ease East Coast drought. Already British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Ontario and Quebec have either banned or announced plans to ban large-scale water exports. Canada clings to its fresh water for fear of damaging ecosystems.

Manitoba is using the same argument to block the United States’ plan to ease the flooding of Devil’s Lake in North Dakota by draining water into the Red River. The US Corps of Engineers is drawing up designs for a $110 million pipline, spillway and pumping system that will lower its lake levels by sending water to Canada.

They will begin digging for the 18-month project in the fall of 2000. Governor Ed Schafer of North Dakota says Manitoba’s environmental concerns are "silly" and adds: Canada will get the US water "one way or another."

Manitoba’s fears are that foreign aquatic life and disease will be introduced to the Red River watershed. The invasive zebra mussel, for instance, has caused millions of dollars damage to US ships, docks and water treatment systems. Whirling disease is killing river trout. Lake Winnipeg is the world’s 10th largest freshwater lake and home to a $17 million-a-year fishing industry.
--Star Tribune
December 12, 1999


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