WINDSOR, Ontario, June 16 (UPI) -- The Great Lakes Science Advisory Board issued a bi-national assessment Wednesday of threats to groundwater in the Great Lakes basin.
The report, prepared for the International Joint Commission, notes groundwater in the Great Lakes basin is similar in volume to Lake Michigan and provides a source of drinking water for millions of basin residents.
"Yet this major component of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem receives inadequate attention in policies designed to protect Great Lakes water quality," officials said.
"Annex 16, which was added to the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1987, acknowledges that contaminated groundwater affects the boundary waters of the Great Lakes System and specifies how the two countries should coordinate their existing programs to control this phenomenon," the report says. "Despite these connections, groundwater receives less attention in the agreement than it should. Newer government programs for source water protection do include groundwater, but Annex 16 is the shortest annex in the agreement."
The agreement is currently being renegotiated by the governments of Canada and the United States.
The report is available at http://www.ijc.org/php/publications/pdf/ID1637.pdf.