The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted for a plan on Tuesday to keep Great Lakes water right where it is.
The vote of 390-25 followed Senate approval for the Great Lakes Compact ealier in the summer. President George Bush said then he expected to sign the bill if it hit his desk.
The compact effectively prevents large-scale diversions of water from the Great Lakes watershed to anywhere else without approval from all states and Canadian provinces that border the bodies of water.
At the state Capitol late Tuesday afternoon, Governor Jim Doyle applauded the house vote. "Now as water is scarce and becoming more scarce in part of the United States and the rest of the world, it was essential we have a compact that pretects that water for generations to come," Doyle said at a news conference.
The eight states and two provinces in the watershed will spend the next year gathering information on the lakes. They must also form a regional body to manage the compact.
The issue garnered national attention after former presidential candidate Bill Richardson suggested water diversions from wet places like Wisconsin to drier states in the southeast and southwest.