Waukesha's Request for Water from Lake Michigan Forwarded to Great Lakes States for Review

Waukesha's Request for Water from Lake Michigan Forwarded to Great Lakes States for Review

As per recent statement by the Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources, the city of Waukesha's request for access to water from Lake Michigan has been forwarded to other Great Lakes states for review. The Department stated that the city does not have a reasonable alternative. In a document submitted by the Department of Natural Resources submitted Thursday to the eight states and two provinces, the agency reported that Waukesha cannot meet state and federal restrictions on radium in drinking water from its current groundwater sources, and the city does not have adequate supplies of potable water.

Representatives of those state and provincial governments approved spending $261,668 this year on the multistate review, which will include a public comment period and at least one public hearing within the next six months. In order to keep updated of the information on the application and the schedule for public review of the request, the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers has established a website: www.waukeshadiversion.org.

On Feb 17, the State and provisional officials will tour Waukesha and hold a second briefing on Waukesha's request at Carroll University in a meeting open to the public. A public information meeting and hearing are scheduled Feb. 18 on the Carroll campus, the timings of which will be announced later. During the webinar, the conference was being asked by the representatives of several Great Lakes environmental groups to spend more money on the multistate review so that it could hold at least one public hearing in each of the eight states and in the two provinces. Lyman Welch, legal director for the Alliance for the Great Lakes in Chicago, conference also should provide sufficient funding to conduct a technical review of the merits of the city's request independent of the Wisconsin DNR's analysis.

If approved, it would mark the first time a community outside the Great Lakes watershed was granted an exception to an eight-state agreement that limits which communities are allowed to tap the lakes. The plan requires approval from governors in each of the states that drain into the Great Lakes. Waukesha, located just west of Milwaukee, is the first community in the U.S. located entirely outside the Great Lakes basin to ask for a diversion of lake water under a 2008 federal law known as the Great Lakes protection compact.