Governor Pat Quinn today unveiled a website highlighting the Illinois Sister Rivers/Lakes Initiative today in honor of United Nations World Water Day 2013, whose theme is "International Year of Water Cooperation." The website is part of Governor Quinn's commitment to protecting our natural resources and driving Illinois' economy forward. This is the 20th Anniversary of World Water Day, which highlights sustainable management of freshwater resources. Illinois has built partnerships with officials in six nations to share creative solutions to common problems, such as run-off, silt and invasive species.
"The Illinois Sisters Rivers/Lakes Initiative celebrates the spirit of "water cooperation,' as we share our successes with and learn from our partners across the world," Governor Quinn said. "Each nation has unique challenges, but we have common priorities: clean and healthy waterways, improved commercial and recreational opportunities, and we all are working hard to leave a better watershed than we inherited."
The goals of UN World Water Day's "Year of International Water Cooperation" are to spark concrete, innovative action and foster partnerships and dialogue around water. Dozens of events have been organized worldwide, such as 6,000 students in 21 nations who will walk six kilometers (3.7 miles) while carrying a water-filled backpack to dramatize the inaccessibility of fresh water for many of the world's children.
Governor Quinn has crafted Lake Michigan and Illinois River "sisterships" with Brazil's Capibaribe River, China's Huangpu River, Ireland's River Lee, Israel's Lake Kinneret, Poland's Vistula River and South Korea's Han River.
The new Illinois Sister Rivers/Lakes website (SisterRivers.Illinois.gov) is designed to share best practices with not only our partners, but advocates for waterways worldwide. The website details successful initiatives such as Governor Quinn's innovative Mud-to-Parks project, Dam Removal and Safety Initiatives and the Clean Water Initiative to modernize drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. The new site will also help boost tourism and export opportunities among the Sister Rivers/Lakes partners.
The website also helps Illinois residents planning a trip abroad with information on Illinois' Sister Waterways. For example, you can fish for salmon in Ireland's Lee River, pedal along Seoul's Han River or Israel's "Jesus Trail," or kayak on Poland's Vistula River. The skylines of Shanghai and Recife, Brazil, may best be seen from a boat on the Huangpu or Capibaribe Rivers.
Governor Quinn also invited tourists in China, Israel, Poland, South Korea, Brazil and Ireland to enjoy all that Illinois waterways have to offer. For tourism information, visit EnjoyIllinois.com. For information about fishing, boating, paddling and birding, visit dnr.illinois.gov.