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Now is the time to speak up about diverting water from Lake Michigan!

Nov 07, 2013

Action alert from the Compact Implementation Coalition (Midwest Environmental Advocates is a member of the coalition that works to protect the integrity of the Great Lakes Compact)

Help protect Lake Michigan

Public meetings on the City of Waukesha’s plan to divert water from Lake Michigan need your input

Attend one of the upcoming public meetings on the City of Waukesha’s plan to divert water from Lake Michigan for municipal use (see the full list of public meetings below). This is an opportunity for anyone concerned with protecting the Great Lakes for future generations to ask questions and voice their concerns about the City of Waukesha’s first true test of the Great Lakes Compact.

Under the Great Lakes Compact, diverting water isn’t allowed, except under very limited circumstances, as a last resort, and if a community meets rigorous requirements. The City of Waukesha is asking for such an exception.

However, the City’s application does not meet several of the most basic requirements of the Great Lakes Compact:

  • The City of Waukesha has not made a compelling case that it is without a reasonable local water supply alternative and, therefore, it does not need a diversion;
  • The City seeks water for a greatly expanded service area that includes communities or portions of communities that have their own adequate supplies of potable water;
  • The City does not fully employ conservation measures available to reduce its water need;
  • The City proposes to discharge treated wastewater into a waterway that is already impaired by pollution and does not demonstrate how this would comply with the requirements of the Clean Water Act. 

These are critical issues that need to be addressed in order to protect Lake Michigan and ensure that the Compact's provisions over the use and protection of our Great Lakes are followed.

The Compact Implementation Coalition, a coalition of conservation and environmental organizations, is asking the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to address these and other deficiencies in the City of Waukesha’s application in a straightforward manner. The Department must ensure that these issues are fully resolved and in compliance with the Great Lakes Compact, or if not, it should not approve this application.

The Compact Implementation Coalition is committed to protecting the integrity of the Great Lakes Compact. Our Coalition is not for or against diversions of water from the Great Lakes basin. But the Compact prohibits diversions except under limited circumstances and only as a last resort and any test of the Compact must have thorough public scrutiny.

The Great Lakes Compact is a multi-state agreement between the eight Great Lakes states, signed into law by President Bush in 2008.  A separate and similar agreement was entered into with the Great Lakes Canadian provinces.  The Compact calls for the Great Lakes states to protect and manage this world-class resource in a unified manner, adopt and implement strong water conservation measures, and prohibit diversions from the Great Lakes. Exceptions to the water diversion prohibition are allowed only under very limited circumstances and if a community meets rigorous requirements.

Read more about the issue in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, Environmental groups dispute Waukesha's need for Lake Michigan water.

Meeting Schedule

November 7, 6:00-8:00 p.m. - Carroll University Center for Graduate Studies auditorium, 2140 Davidson Rd, Waukesha
November 13, 6:00-8:00 p.m. - Oak Creek Community Center, 8580 S Howell Ave, Oak Creek
November 14, 6:00-8:00 p.m. - Racine Campus Conference Center, Great Lakes Room, Gateway Technical College, 1001 S Main St, Racine
November 18, 6:00-8:00 p.m. - Zilber School of Public Health, UWM, rooms 109, 119 and 129, 1240 N 10th St, Milwaukee
Please attend to learn more about the application from an informational presentation. You will have an opportunity to ask questions and share your comments.

You can also submit written comments to the Department of Natural Resources at the meetings or by email to DNRWaukeshaDiversionApp@wisconsin.gov

/ tagged: great lakes compact