September 3-10, 2007

More municipalities commit to conserving water, says binational Cities Initiative

After only one year, 28 Canadian and U.S. cities participating in the Great Lakes St Lawrence Cities Initiative's water conservation challenge have committed to reducing their water consumption by 15% by 2015. A the fourth annual meeting of the Cities Initiative, held recently in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Toronto mayor David Miller, the group's past-chair, said water conservation "conserves a precious resource, and it drastically reduces our energy use, which reduces greenhouse gases and saves us money. We have already conserved enough water to fill 85,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Collectively, we intend to change the nature of water consumption in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence basin."

During the meeting, the mayors called on the Canadian and U.S. governments to pass comprehensive invasive species and ballast water control legislation immediately, with mandatory measures for ships carrying ballast water and those with no ballast on board. "There is consensus right across the Great Lakes and St Lawrence basin, from environment groups to cities, from shippers to fishermen," said Racine, Wisconsin mayor Gary Becker, the newly-elected chair of the Cities Initiative. "We need immediate Canada-U.S. action now on invasive species legislation. There is too much at stake for further delay," he added.

Co-founded in 2003 by Chicago mayor Richard Daley and Toronto mayor Miller, the Great Lakes and St Lawrence Cities Initiative is a binational coalition of mayors and other local officials that works actively with its membership and other levels of government to advance the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. With headquarters in Chicago, the group has nearly 50 members and 100 participating cities. More information is available on the Cities Initiative Web site, www.glslcities.org.

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