Undercurrents: beneath the obvious

April 25, 2007

Waterloo Ontario Looking at Lake Erie Pipeline

The Waterloo Record on more pipeline news:

The proposed pipeline would draw water from an existing Nanticoke treatment plant. The plant would be expanded to supply treated water to seven communities along the Grand River.

Waterloo Region, population 507,000, draws 80 per cent of its drinking water from underground and 20 per cent from the Grand River. Underground sources are considered plentiful and they are being expanded. Water conservation is keeping pace with growth.

Some environmentalists oppose a pipeline at any time, calling on politicians to focus instead on conservation and groundwater protection. However, regional government forecasts call for a Great Lake pipeline by 2035, when the population has grown beyond 729,000.

Lake Erie is touted as a pipeline source in part because there’s already a water-taking permit in place that’s big enough to service Waterloo Region and other communities. The Ontario government approved the permit in the 1970s, based on a 1969 plan to pipe water from Lake Erie to Waterloo Region.

The Ministry of the Environment has said it will reject Lake Huron as a source, to avoid diverting water from one Great Lake to another. Water used [in Waterloo] becomes treated wastewater that flows to Lake Erie, down the Grand River.

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