Thursday, January 10, 2008

Add The Wisconsin State Journal To Great Lakes Compact Supporters

Madison's morning paper joins the long list of media calling for adoption of the Great Lakes Compact.

And the paper correctly notes the drop in Lake Michigan water levels as an example of why there is urgency underlying the need for the Compact.

The Compact is essentially a conservation and management agreement to protect a shared resource - - 95% of the country's fresh surface water.

If and when the State Journal revisits the issue, it could add that the Compact, as drafted, needs some tightening.

Loopholes permitting large water bottling business to send water away from the Great Lakes basin, one bottle at a time - - and in fleets of trucks every day - - undermines the Compact's goal of minimizing diversions of water, especially at a time of falling levels and greater evaporation from warming temperatures.

The Compact also has to guarantee that communities seeking piped diversions, such as New Berlin, or Waukesha, return water as close to the source of diversion as possible.

And in quantities also as close as feasible to what was diverted, too, lest communities be tempted to send only a fraction of the water back, and not necessarily directly to the lake.

Diversions have to be a matter of last resort, not to fuel development and accelerate sprawl.

New Berlin and Waukesha have both sought diversions from Lake Michigan knowing that the Compact has stalled in the legislature.

There should be no diversion approvals by Wisconsin officials, nor efforts to secure the required agreements for diversions from the other Great Lakes states as called for in current federal law, until Wisconsin approves and implements the Compact.

Let's not put the cart before the horse: Compact approval first, then diversion application consideration by Wisconsin and the other states as the Compact lays out.

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