Protecting The Lakes

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- The Great Lakes water compact is testing the idea of regional unity.

As governors of the Great Lakes states debated how to prevent outsiders from staking a claim to their water, advocates warned that without a deal the region would be at the mercy of the Sun Belt.

But since the eight governors shook hands on a water compact in December 2005, the loudest complaints have surfaced within the region itself. People find it easier to say "no" to Arizona than to restrain their own appetites.

What many don't like is that the compact instructs the Great Lakes states to regulate their water use and adopt conservation plans -- in keeping with regional standards. The rules could affect virtually anything requiring lots of water, from sewage treatment to irrigation to manufacturing cars.

The pact has been ratified in just one state: Minnesota.

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