Monday, July 20, 2015

Strong challenge to Waukesha's Great Lakes diversion plan

In its application for a diversion of Lake Michigan water, the city of Waukesha claims its water utility is merely following state planning law by including an expanded water supply service area, which is almost twice the size of its current water supply service area. This reliance on state planning laws is in direct conflict with the Great Lakes Compact, the historic regional agreement enacted into federal law in 2008, which sets forth clear legal guidelines for protecting, conserving and managing the precious and vulnerable water resources of the Great Lakes basin. 
Waukesha's attempt to use the expanded service area to demonstrate need for Lake Michigan water will not pass legal muster under the Great Lakes Compact, which trumps state law. 
Quite simply, the portions of neighboring communities included in the expansion do not meet two key compact requirements: they fail to demonstrate water conservation efforts to date and fail to show an inadequate existing supply of drinking water... neither the neighboring communities nor the City of Waukesha meet the compact's requirement of diverting Great Lakes water as a last resort. The Great Lakes Compact does not allow for withdrawals based on possible future need of expanded service areas.


Anonymous said...

So, in a nutshell, this regional water conservation coalition is actually telling walkersha that they should just drink their own urine. Good for them!

Anonymous said...

Well not quite - they are saying that the other communities should not be included.

Anonymous said...

So should other these communities direct their pee to walkersha?

Betsey said...

Can't sort out you Anonymi, but no, the Op Ed doesn't say Waukesha should drink anyone's treated wastewater, or urine as you say. The point of the Op Ed is that by removing the additional communities from its application, and the inflated amount of water that would add to the request, Waukesha can lower its request, and meet the lowered demand through treating 3 additional wells for radium and doing better conservation.

Anonymous said...

What? No comment yet from Waukesha's paid media relations guy, Bill?

The Waukesha Water Utility will not get Lake Michigan water for one reason - the science used to justify their claim that there is not enough water in the deep aquifer was based on modeling data of the aquifer from 2001 and 7 years prior. The deep aquifer had stopped declining in 2000 and began to increase - 100 feet since that SEWRPC study.

There is no science presented in the application based on the aquifer increasing.

And you know it, Bill.

nanishome said...

Do the other states in the compact do their own studies of Waukesha or do the take the WI DNR word for it?

James Rowen said...

Each state will follow its own procedure, in line with the Compact. That can mean an analysis of the Waukesha/DNR position, can mean hearings, or not. In the end, each Governor has to say yes or now. All eight must say yes for the diversion to go forward, and people in any of the states can take their Governor's decision - - aye or nay - -
to court in that state. This could on for years.