Monday, December 16, 2013

Breaking News - - Michigan Legislators Want Waukesha Diversion Vetoed

As all eight Great Lakes Governors under the Great Lakes Compact of 2008 must approve Waukesha's plan to divert water from Lake Michigan, a joint resolution introduced in the Michigan legislature urging MI Gov. Rick Snyder to veto the diversion request is not a good sign it can win approval.

Michigan is nearly completely within the Great Lakes basin and has a history of blocking diversions.

Official information from the Michigan Legislature, here:

A concurrent resolution to urge Governor Snyder to uphold Michigan's commitment to the principles of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and to veto the city of Waukesha's request for a diversion from Lake Michigan. 
A repeated theme on this blog has been the disconnect between Waukesha's water diversion planning locally - - seeking a big increase in volume though usage is down, and water conservation is the Compact's heart, plus deciding to send diverted water outside its municipal borders to other towns with no water shortages - - and the reception the application would get outside Wisconsin even after years of expensive drafting:
Back in 2010, I wrote;
Also among the many commentaries on this blog about the application also is this excerpt from a 2012 posting: 
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%. 
That expansion - - mapped out and green-lighted by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission for the Waukesha application administratively, without public review - - plays some role in Waukesha's request for up to 18.5 million gallons of Lake Michigan water daily....
Water for growth is not the goal of the Compact. Take it from a Compact expert's superb analysis, here....  
Waukesha's water-for-expansion goes beyond meeting its own needs. It's an assault on regionalism, and resource sustainability and the core preservationist principle of the Compact. 
It's where the diversion application lacks the most justification and creates the most waves. 
There are innumerable uncertainties about the application's reception in the seven other Great Lakes states, and perhaps in two Canadian provinces which have advisory roles, as do First Nation tribes there.  
Even after after Wisconsin sends the application to the other states - - and who knows if and when that takes place - - any of the states could send it back for fresh answers or a time-consuming do-over. 
An unambiguous veto by any of the states (not a step available in the provinces) would deny Waukesha the unanimous approvals by all eight Great Lakes states the Compact mandates for such diversions.  
The Great Lakes water expert Peter Annin, brought some time ago to a public meeting in Waukesha by the city, told an assemblage of citizens and officials in the Common Council chambers that they should expect as a given, at least one state to reject the application on its first reading.


Anonymous said...

Maybe the next time around Walkerstan will cooperate with Milwaukee. Mikwaukee could have helped Walkerstan with their application.

Anonymous said...

To those who are still thinking this isn't about development, you're listening to the Waukesha and Jefferson County movers and shakers.

Michigan got this right.

If the City of Waukesha is off the deep aquifer which is mostly a draw from Jefferson County, the unconfined aquifer, NOT the confined aquifer going east, every developer west of Waukesha will have plenty of water for development of the I-94 corridor.

Anonymous said...

So 6:40 - why hasn't Walkerstan gone this route?

Anonymous said...

Michigan is right. The Waukesha Water Utility has not demonstrated a need for Lake Michigan water in it's service area. Waukesha County and Jefferson County have quietly expressed a want for their own needs of aquifer water if Waukesha were to get off the aquifer and get Lake Michigan water. Imagine developments like Pabst Farms all along I-94. Growth, growth, growth. Conservation would have no impact with all the growth. A rejection of the application for a diversion exception would send SEWRPC back to the drawing board.

Gary Wilson said...

And I would add Jim that both the Michigan House and Senate are controlled by Republicans, though a kinder and gentler version than exists in Wisconsin.

Gary / Chicago

Betsey said...

Meanwhile, from deep within the Waukesha bubble. . . . .

Waukesha (gasping) to the rest of the world: Harsh, really harsh Michigan! OMG! I can't believe you aren't loving this most awesomest-EVAH! application! I am SO unfriending Michigan and the rest of Canadia too!

Anonymous said...

The Town of Waukesha chairman ran his election on a platform that the town needs to be included in the service area of the city not as a need for Lake Michigan water but as an "insurance policy" in the event that in the future your well fails, you have access to Lake Michigan water.

Apply when you really have a demonstrated need like the compact requires.