Saturday, March 15, 2014

More Outside Media Looking At Waukesha's Water Play

I've written often on this blog - - here, or here - - that Waukesha's intense push for a Lake Michigan diversion under the Great Lakes Compact of 2008 may play well at home, but its precedent-setting application for the diversion raises concerns across a huge North American region over the volume of water Waukesha is seeking and its intention to redistribute some of that water into undeveloped acreage and neighboring towns with no water shortages.

So I commend to you this outstanding scene-setter by water and environmental expert Tom Henry, a long-time staffer at The Blade, Toledo, Ohio's daily paper:

The Great Lakes compact seeks to keep water in this region. 
A non-binding agreement in principle - i.e. a public acknowledgment - is the best that can be done in that regard because states cannot enter into legally binding contracts with provinces or other foreign entities. 
The heavy negotiations that went into that compact led to some eye-opening revelations, not the least of which was how Americans don't quite appreciate or understand the Canadian perspective when it comes to something as simple as protecting the Great Lakes. 
Put yourself in Canada's shoes. Or winter boots, for that matter. 
The USA, to many Canadians, is a big resource-sucking machine.   We covet Canada's water, natural gas, and timber. 
We sometimes think of the Great Lakes as our own, when - in fact - it's a shared resource. 
Of the 40 million people who live in the Great Lakes basin, 30 million are in the United States and 10 million are in Canada. In other words, one of every four Great Lakes residents are Canadians, plus there are rights to the water claimed by tribes and First Nations.


Bill McClenahan said...

Someone should tell your "expert'" that the Compact is federal law, not a non-binding agreement in principle. The Compact was passed expressly to prohibit the scenarios he bases his premise on, such as transfers to the west or southwest. His column is years behind the times.

The Compact limits diversions to straddling counties and requires that water be returned to the Great Lakes after use. Waukesha's precedent is only for the area where water can legally be transferred to -- counties that straddle the basin divide -- and is a precedent for no water loss to the Great Lakes. All points your "expert" ignores in raising fears of transfers to other states that are against federal law.

Anonymous said...


I recently saw a document from CH2M HILL dated March 5th, 2014 that states, "In recent years, groundwater levels indicate an increasing trend in the deep aquifer wells."

If the utility consulting engineering firm says the aquifer is rising, that's contrary to the application and every single public listening session and presentation by the utility and it's hired firms such as yours.

If I were the Canadians I recommend to the 7 others states that it make more sense to take a 20 year wait and see approach because Waukesha's diversion application doesn't meet the criteria if the aquifer isn't dropping and radium can be filtered.

I await your response.

Anonymous said...

Chicago's continued draining of the great lakes via sewage canal makes any compact worthless. Billions of gallons per day into the ocean.

Anonymous said...


"that water be returned to the Great Lakes after use."

As noted at the recent public hearings, Waukesha plans to return plenty of water from it's leaking sanitary sewer system to replace water it will not be sending back to Lake Michigan. Right?