It’s hard to imagine one of the world’s largest sources of drinking water drying out, but mayors representing 133 communities around the Great Lakes fear it could happen if just 'one percent' of water from the lake is diverted out of the watershed.

Mayors from Canada and the U.S. gathered in Collingwood on Friday for a regional meeting of The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.  Together, they called for wider public consultations before applications for large water withdrawals are granted, and for better monitoring.

Currently, a council of eight U.S. governors from around the Great Lakes set the rules for large water diversions.  Premiers from Ontario and Quebec have only advisory roles. 

Anishinabek leaders also added their voice to the cities initiative on Friday.

“Toronto, you go one day without water.  Ottawa, you go one day without water.  Let us know how you feel because that is the reality,” said Grand Council Chief Glen Hare.

The U.S. Governors are scheduled to meet on December 6 to review new application procedures.

The mayors that gathered on Friday want any decisions to be deferred until newly elected governors get up to speed on the issues.