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Our View: Maintain water levels

The world has only so many water molecules to go around, and when the largest concentration of fresh surface water is just down the block, pardon us if we feel some ownership in it.

The world has only so many water molecules to go around, and when the largest concentration of fresh surface water is just down the block, pardon us if we feel some ownership in it.

This week, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources asked for feedback on a proposal to export some water from the Great Lakes under a draft agreement drawn up by the Council of Great Lakes Governors.

The draft says that, yes, water may be removed in limited amounts under limited circumstances. The devil, of course, is in the details.

To avoid disruption to the people who live around the Great Lakes and make their living here, a key factor in any exportation ought to be the depth of the lakes. If the depth of the lakes is at or below the historical average, then no water should be exported from the lakes.

What should frighten all of us is the idea that someone will run a pipeline from the lakes to the more arid parts of the nation, and that somebody on the other end need only turn a spigot to tap into the water. That cannot be allowed.

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The draft says that no more than 1 million gallons can be removed in a 120-day period. We're not sure what that means.

The final agreement should include principles that will protect our freshwater resource incontrovertibly forever and a day.

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