The Business Journal summarizes the issues, a timely story since Waukesha is holding the first of four informational meetings on the subject tonight:
A coalition of environmental groups argue Waukesha’s application to use Lake Michigan water does not pass the standards needed to gain approval under the Great Lakes Compact.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is reviewing Waukesha’s application to buy Lake Michigan water to replace its current system of underground wells. A series of public hearings are scheduled over the next two weeks, starting with a Thursday night meeting at the Carroll University Center for Graduate Studies in Waukesha...
The coalition on Wednesday repeated several concerns it has raised about Waukesha’s plan over several years, arguing the city’s water utility did not adequately vet alternative sources and must improve efforts to conserve water. It also raised concerns about Waukesha’s proposal to return treated water to Lake Michigan via the Root River, which flows through Franklin and Racine.
Waukesha Water Utility general manager Dan Duchniak said the current water application meets the standards of the Great Lakes Compact. It is up to the DNR to decide the issue, he said.And the application says Waukesha plans to send water beyond its city limits, including into towns which did not seek a diversion, raising the specter that diverted water is intended to spur growth, not conservation. A point I have raised for years:
The weakest link in the application - - and what will raise questions all the way from the Town of Waukesha to the City of Milwaukee, and with reviewers and regulators in all the eight Great Lakes states, is Waukesha's plan to send Lake Michigan water into parts of Pewaukee, Genesee and the Town of Waukesha.
Expanding the current service territory land mass by 80%.Canadians, with an advisory role to play in Great Lakes diversions, have their own questions:
Thunder Bay's Hobbs, who is also the chair of a US-Canadian regional Mayor's group, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, is raising questions about Waukesha's application and specifically about Waukesha's intention to send water beyond its city limits.
Cheryl Nenn, with Milwaukee Riverkeeper, said “Our Coalition has worked with Waukesha for years and offered constructive suggestions on their application again and again, yet the revised application fails to meet some of the basic requirements of the Great Lakes Compact.”More from WUWM-FM.