An open letter to the candidates of Algoma-Manitoulin

To the Expositor:

An open letter to all candidates:

First, on behalf of all Manitouliners, I would like to express sincere thanks to The Expositor for highlighting diminished water levels in the Lake Huron-Michigan basin as an issue this election.

Second, I would like to dismiss the assumptions on the part of some candidates that the meeting in Kagawong dealt satisfactorily with our concerns regarding lake levels. That meeting merely served to prove how concerned Manitouliners are regarding the lack of understanding and action on the part of all levels of government, on both sides of the border.

While the meeting at Kagawong served to point up concern regarding the huge increase in flow out the St. Clair River, resulting from aggregate removal, dredging and erosion, it neglected to look at the cumulative effect of all present and future water withdrawals from the Lake Huron-Michigan basin.

Here is a partial list: Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, 3.2 mgd (million gallons per day); Chicago, 2.068 bgd (billion gallons per day); Haldimand, 1.3 mgd; London, 71 mgd; mouth of the St. Clair River, 6 bgd; and Detroit, 94 mgd. The total withdrawals from the Huron-Michigan basin equaling 8,237,500,000 gpd (8 billion, 237 million, 500 thousand gallons per day).

While individually withdrawals may seem insignificant, cumulatively, through time, they can lead to what Oriental people refer to as “death by a thousand cuts.”

As human population and associated industry increase within the Huron-Michigan basin, so will the need to withdraw more water, leading inevitably to further crises within the basin.

Unfortunately, politicians tend to think only in terms of intervals between elections. Looking down the road, as well as downstream, there is presently a project underway that will dwarf withdrawals from the Michigan-Huron basin by increasing water withdrawal through Niagara Falls. The completion of a third huge tunnel beneath the city of Niagara Falls will increase the hydro generating capacity of the Sir Adam Beck hydro generating station by approximately 30 percent to 1700 cubic metres per second. Be assured that in times of draught, additional flow will be withdrawn from the Niagara River to satisfy Hydro’s generating needs downstream. That additional flow will ultimately come from Lake Huron via the St. Clair River.

I am requesting all the candidates to make a long-term commitment to the protection of the Huron-Michigan basin that will go beyond the period of your mandate. Remember, we’ll be watching.

Mike Wilton
Dominion Bay