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Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Compact and Agreement

In 2005, the Great Lakes Governors and Premiers signed the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement (Agreement), and the Governors endorsed the companion Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (Compact), an interstate compact subsequently enacted into law in each of the eight states and consented to by Congress in 2008. The Agreement and Compact detail how the States and Provinces will manage and protect the waters and water dependent natural resources of the Great Lakes Basin, and two entities provide governance:

Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council (Compact Council)

Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin Regional Body

As required by the Compact, Pennsylvania completed a 2008 baseline of existing water withdrawals, consumptive uses, and diversions. Additionally, an inventory is maintained and annual reporting is conducted of water withdrawals, consumptive uses, and diversions. All new diversions are prohibited with minor exceptions for public water supply purposes in projects that meet the standards of the Compact and involve straddling communities, straddling counties, and interbasin diversions. All proposed diversions and consumptive uses exceeding a threshold must undergo a Regional Review process.

Water Resources Inventory and Reporting

Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes inventory of water users and reported quantities are available at this link.

Water Withdrawal, Consumptive Use, and Diversion Baseline

The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) has established a ''baseline'' of existing withdrawals, consumptive uses and/or diversions of Great Lakes Basin water. The Department has prepared a list of baseline amounts of affected facilities or systems as of December 2008. This information reflects the data related to those facilities or systems that are currently on record with the Department.

The Department published the proposed list in the Pennsylvania Bulletin at 39 Pa.B. 5985 (October 10, 2009), announcing a 30-day public comment period requesting comment on the establishment of the baseline by November 9, 2009. No comments were received through the public comment period. In addition to the public comment period, the Department requested information from individual water users through a direct mailing. Based on the responses received from the mailing, the list of water users and baseline values were adjusted.

The baseline amount assigned to each Great Lakes Basin water user will be used to determine what is a new or increased withdrawal, consumptive use, or diversion of Great Lakes Basin water in the future.

Click here to view the final Baseline List as a PDF file. (Revised 12/23/2009)

Click here to view the Comment and Response document as a PDF file.

This information was collected under Act 43 of 2008 and signed on July 4, 2008, known as the Great Lakes—St.Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (Compact) (32 P.S. §§ 817.21—817.30). The Compact prohibits all new or increased diversions, with some exceptions for public water suppliers in communities or counties that straddle the boundary of the Great Lakes Basin. The Compact also provides for each Great Lakes state to establish a program no later than 2013 for the management and regulation of new or increased withdrawals and consumptive uses within the Great Lakes—St. Lawrence River Basin. With the passage of the Compact by each of the 8 Great Lakes states and the consent of the United States Congress, the new Interstate Compact became effective on December 8, 2008.

More information may be obtained on the web:

Act 43: Search for HB 1705 under 2007-2008 Legislative Session or directly at:

Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement:

Consumptive Use (USGS)

Consumptive Use (Great Lakes Commission)

Great Lakes Compact Pennsylvania Fact Sheet (PDF)

Comments and questions concerning the final baseline should be directed to Timothy Bruno, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 301 Peninsula Drive, Suite 4, Erie, PA 16505 (814)-835-1477, e-mail at