[Updated, 12/10, 10:25 p.m.] Former Ohio GOP Gov. Bob Taft, who with Wisconsin Democratic Gov Jim Doyle led the successful regional push for the Great Lakes Compact, has penned a cautionary letter to the Chicago Tribune about Waukesha's precedent-setting diversion application and criticized a key element in it:
Waukesha’s demand for water has been decreasing since the late 1980s. The city’s diversion application proposes to needlessly divert Great Lakes water to nearby communities that already have a satisfactory existing supply of water.That Waukesha proposes to send some diverted water to communities that didn't even ask for it - - as well as to land ripe for development - - has always been the application's biggest flaw, as I suggested in 2010:
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.Waukesha and Wisconsin officials have said that cutting back Waukesha's diversion request to its current boundaries is off the table:
Waukesha has said state law obligates it to distribute water to the [Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning] Commission's designated future service area, and that is the area included in the city's Great Lakes water diversion application…
Of equal significance to Waukesha, DNR Water Use Section Chief Eric Ebersberger has said in an interview and in informal conversations with Milwaukee representatives that the department will not accept a water deal that does not distribute water to the entire future service area.The Great Lakes governors convene on the issue Thursday.