May 16, 2005

Ontario opposes water diversion from Lake of the Woods to North Dakota

TORONTO, ONT-The Ontario government is opposed to any diversion of water by pipeline from Lake of the Woods to North Dakota, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay said recently. "While there has been no formal application for a diversion to North Dakota, the state has identified a pipeline from Lake of the Woods across Minnesota as one option to deal with future water shortages," he said, adding, "I am very pleased that both Manitoba and Minnesota have voiced their opposition to such a proposal. Ontario shares their concerns." Provincial Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky pointed out that "Lake of the Woods is a transboundary water. According to the Boundary Waters Treaty, it is therefore under the authority of the International Joint Commission, a binational organization. Ontario would oppose any proposal for such a diversion," she stated. North Dakota predicts that by 2050 there will be water shortages in the Red River Valley on the state's eastern border and is considering eight options to meet future water needs. One of the proposed options is a pipeline running west from Lake of the Woods to the Red River Valley. This option was initially ruled out because it was thought to be too expensive. More recent estimates, however, indicate that the cost would be comparable to other options being considered.

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