Maude Barlow, national chairwoman of the Council of Canadians and founder of the Blue Planet Project, spoke Tuesday at the University at Buffalo North Campus, The Buffalo (N.Y.) News reported.
"We want strong legislation to protect the Great Lakes from pollution, from overextraction and careless treatment," she said.
Barlow said one industrial source of pollution is through hydraulic fracturing, which uses large amounts of water to cut seams in rock formations to extract natural gas.
"A huge part of the answer is respecting water, conservation, restoring watersheds, rainwater harvesting and very strict laws around pollution. So you're not saying industry has no right to water, but it has no right to destroy that water. If that's what it takes for you to make money, then you can't do that," Barlow said.