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Article

Twenty-First Century Science Calls for Twenty-First Century Groundwater Use Law: A Retrospective Analysis of Transboundary Governance Weaknesses and Future Implications in the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin

1
Faculty of Science, School of Earth, Environment and Society, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada
2
Faculty of Engineering, W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Sharon B. Megdal and Anne-Marie Matherne
Water 2021, 13(13), 1768; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131768
Received: 16 March 2021 / Revised: 17 June 2021 / Accepted: 21 June 2021 / Published: 26 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Transboundary Aquifer Assessment)
How has groundwater use been historically governed by the binational to municipal government levels across the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin (GLB)? To what extent have they contemplated the physical–environmental requirements to maintain aquifer storage in devising policies and making decisions governing groundwater use? Although it is amongst the largest freshwater stores in the globe, cases of groundwater shortages are increasingly being reported across GLB communities, raising questions on the fitness of governance approaches to maintain groundwater storage (GWS) with growing climate and human pressures. Applying retrospective analytical methods to assess the century-old collaboration of the United States and Canada to maintain GLB water quantities, we characterize long-term trends and undertake systematic diagnosis to gain insight into causal mechanisms that have persisted over the years resulting in current GWS governance gaps. We reveal the surprising prominence of policies originally intended to safeguard surface water quantities being used to govern groundwater use and thereby maintain GWS. We also connect these, based on sustainable aquifer yield theory, to growing groundwater insecurity in the Basin’s drought-prone and/or groundwater-dependent communities. Based on deep understanding of long-standing policy pathologies, findings inform transboundary GWS governance reform proposals that can be highly useful to multiple levels of government policymakers. View Full-Text
Keywords: groundwater storage; groundwater use; multilevel governance; agreement; transboundary basins; retrospective analysis; United States; Canada groundwater storage; groundwater use; multilevel governance; agreement; transboundary basins; retrospective analysis; United States; Canada
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MDPI and ACS Style

Weekes, K.; Krantzberg, G. Twenty-First Century Science Calls for Twenty-First Century Groundwater Use Law: A Retrospective Analysis of Transboundary Governance Weaknesses and Future Implications in the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin. Water 2021, 13, 1768. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131768

AMA Style

Weekes K, Krantzberg G. Twenty-First Century Science Calls for Twenty-First Century Groundwater Use Law: A Retrospective Analysis of Transboundary Governance Weaknesses and Future Implications in the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin. Water. 2021; 13(13):1768. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131768

Chicago/Turabian Style

Weekes, Khafi, and Gail Krantzberg. 2021. "Twenty-First Century Science Calls for Twenty-First Century Groundwater Use Law: A Retrospective Analysis of Transboundary Governance Weaknesses and Future Implications in the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin" Water 13, no. 13: 1768. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131768

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