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May 9, 2007
Cities Initiative Testimony Highlights Water Level Concerns Calls on Ontario to introduce water conservation measures
Today, Brian McMullan, Mayor of St. Catharines and Ontario regional representative for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, made a deposition to the Ontario Legislative Committee reviewing Bill 198, Safeguarding and Sustaining Ontario’s Water Act. If passed, the bill would put into law Ontario’s obligations under the so-called Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Charter Annex.

The Cities Initiative has been a strong supporter of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement. “We are in full support of the principles articulated in the Charter Annex Agreement,” said Mayor McMullan, “including the ban on water exports out of the Basin, and a ban on intra-basin transfers except in exceptional circumstances.”

In considering exceptions to the ban on intra-basin transfers, the Cities Initiative encourages the Province to consider the impact of lake and river levels. As Mayor McMullan explained, “The intra-basin ban exemption criteria must fully respect the changing nature of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence water levels. Consideration of water levels should take precedence over other criteria, and should explicitly require an assessment of lake water levels.”

The Cities Initiative also supports the adoption of regional water conservation objectives. “We encourage the Province to learn from municipal water conservation programs, and proceed with some short term measures immediately, like a ban on the sale of water inefficient toilets,” said Mayor McMullan.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is a bi-national organization of mayors across the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin. Founded in 2003 by Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago, and Chaired currently by Mayor David Miller of Toronto, the Cities Initiative gives a voice to the priorities and concerns of cities regarding the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence water system.

Media contacts:
Nicola Crawhall, Director, Toronto Office, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, 416-432-2739
Brian McMullan, Mayor of St. Catharines, 905-688-5600 ext. 1540



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