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Despite Canadian fears of contamination, North Dakota began pumping water on Monday from its Devils Lake floodlands into a system that leads eventually into a commercial fishery north of the U.S. border.
The U.S. diversion plan has been a diplomatic sore point because of Canadian concerns the water could pollute Manitoba's Lake Winnipeg, the world's 10th largest freshwater lake and home to a C$25 million fishery.
North Dakota says the water from Devils Lake, which has swallowed up 90,000 acres of land over 12 years of higher than normal precipitation, is safe. But Canada fears the land-locked lake contains high concentrations of salts and other pollutants along with foreign fish and organisms.