The great siphoning: Drought-stricken areas eye the Great Lakes

Illustration by Rob Dobi for the Star Tribune

Outside Two Harbors, Minn., on a cliff overlooking the broad expanse of Lake Superior, you are overwhelmed by grandeur — shimmering water, crashing waves, a down-bound ore boat on the horizon, miniaturized by distance.

As you fill your senses, you may be unaware of the invisible others behind you — 2,000 miles or so behind you, to the southwest — eyeing the Great Lakes in another spirit, coveting all that water.

Lake Superior is big, all right. It and the other Great Lakes contain one-fifth of the whole world’s fresh water and, get this, hold enough to submerge the continental U.S. under 10 feet.

Those far-off onlookers thirst mightily for the Lakes’ 6.5 million billion gallons of fresh water that, to them, just sits there before running off to the ocean. Wasted. It’s easy for us lake-landers to dismiss such thoughts, but those in the American Southwest are up against a 17-year drought that keeps getting worse. After an unusually warm winter, it’s expected to worsen still more this summer due to a dearth of mountain snow that will again leave Colorado River flow far below normal, with forecasts of dry […]

More from the Anishinabek Nation and the Great Lakes:

Mayors, Anishinabek Nation Call for Stricter Rules in Great Lakes Withdrawals

Ojibwe Grandmother has walked 17,000 km to raise consciousness about water

Blue Water Bridge a potential crossing for U.S.-bound liquid nuclear waste

Controversial insecticides pervasive in Great Lakes tributaries

Antidepressants found in fish brains in Great Lakes region

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The great siphoning: Drought-stricken areas eye the Great Lakes
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The great siphoning: Drought-stricken areas eye the Great Lakes
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The Great Lakes hold one-fifth of the world's fresh water. That's enough to submerge the continental USA under 10 feet. But far-off onlookers thirst for the Lakes' 6.5 million billion gallons of fresh water that, to them, just sits there before flowing to the ocean. And the Southwest is up against a 17-year drought.
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Star Tribune
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