Science, cost don't support Great Lakes diversion plan

Science, cost don't support Great Lakes diversion plan - Green Bay Press Gazette, August 12, 2015
Author: George Meyer

Over the past five years, you may have heard about the city of Waukesha's application to permanently divert water from Lake Michigan. The city's application has dragged on for so long, it probably doesn't seem newsworthy anymore.

I'm writing today to urge you — it is the time to pay attention.

Waukesha's application has huge implications for the entire Great Lakes region because it is the first application to divert water under the Great Lakes Compact, the federal law ratified in 2008 designed to protect our Great Lakes from water withdrawals to areas outside of the Great Lakes Basin.

The decision on Waukesha's application will set a precedent that either upholds these protections or allows many other out-of-basin diversions of Great Lakes water.

Unfortunately, the city of Waukesha's application ignores other reasonable alternatives to their proposed Great Lakes diversion. In its application, Waukesha is proposing to double the size of its water service area and thereby contravening the standards of the Great Lakes Compact. By including this expanded service area, Waukesha greatly inflates the amount of water it needs and thereby tries to justify using Great Lakes water rather than local groundwater.

Unfortunately for Waukesha residents, the city's Lake Michigan diversion plan also does so at extremely high cost to ratepayers. Waukesha Water Utility's own 2015 budget projects a $334 million cost for its proposed Great Lakes diversion, which will increase residential utility bills from around $260 per year to almost $900 per year by 2024. All this for the sake of future, hypothetical expansion outside the city limits.

Read the complete article online here.