This article draws from a new paper by David A. Boren and Michael W. Osterloh in Water Conservation: A Global Perspective.
The authors have studied the effects of the water use policies that are currently in place on water use in the Great Lake Basin.
They estimate that the water conservation system in the basin is likely to reduce the amount of water required for irrigation by around 30 percent.
The paper also indicates that the reductions in water use are likely to increase the total amount of precipitation in the lake.
The Great Lakes Basin, they argue, is a “global water-use-policy basket case.”
This is not a new conclusion.
The previous paper by Boren et al. (2015) predicted that the Great lakes water system would require about 20 percent more water than it currently does, and predicted that water conservation systems in the watershed would require between 25 percent and 40 percent more than the current systems.
The results of that paper suggested that the future water requirements of the Great Basin would be significantly higher than the present water requirements.
The current study shows that the system is already facing severe water shortages, and that the current system is not sufficient to meet future water demands.
They note that a number of water conservation projects have been implemented in the region, but only a handful of them have been successful in improving water quality and conservation.
The study also found that the number of large rivers in the system has declined by nearly one-third since the 1990s.
The researchers suggest that the decline in river flows is largely due to improved irrigation techniques, particularly the development of new types of irrigation systems that use large amounts of water to make the water more drinkable.
They conclude that the loss of large, productive rivers will require significant improvements in water management and conservation efforts in the future.
The report concludes that “the basin’s water management system is under-performing.”
The authors suggest that large water users in the water system should be responsible for a larger share of the cost of the project.
They also suggest that there should be a broader focus on how the system can be improved, including the introduction of incentives to encourage large water user projects, such as the construction of new dams and irrigation facilities.
They argue that the basin needs to take a more active role in improving the water quality of the system, and they suggest that “a larger role for upstream users, especially with regard to the Great River, would be useful.”
They suggest that regional water users should be more involved in designing and developing the water management plans.
Beren and Osterlich (2015), Water Conservation Project in the Lower Great Lakes, Water Quality of the Lower and Upper Great Lakes: An Ecological, Environmental, and Water-use Approach, pp. 1-16.
The full paper is available at: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-07/p141835.php.