Waukesha Water Hearing Sparks Debate Over Great Lakes Compact Adherence

Waukesha Water Hearing Sparks Debate Over Great Lakes Compact AdherenceMilwaukee Courier, August 21, 2015
Author: Ariele Vaccaro

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is pulling together an application for a diversion of Lake Michigan water to be used in the City of Waukesha.

The city has been struggling with high levels of radium in its ten groundwater aquifers and has been given a federal 2018 deadline to find a way to brings its residents cleaner water.

DNR reached out for public comment on the application in a series of public hearings this past week. The department is giving the public until Aug. 28 to submit comments.

The DNR made a stop at the Zilber School for Public Health, an arm of the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, on Tuesday afternoon to hear from a number of residents, environmental groups, government entities, and business representatives.

Reactions from the some 40 hearing attendees seemed almost split down the middle.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was the one of the first to raise concerns as to the plan’s adherence to the Great Lakes Compact — an agreement between all Great Lakes states meant to keep from over-expending the lakes’ resources. He argued the plan did not adhere to the compact because the service area would not only include the City of Waukesha, but other areas such as Genesse and the Town of Waukesha. He offered that DNR take it back to Waukesha in order to amend it for the compact’s terms. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele sang a similar tune. To a tumult of laughter, he suggested Waukesha give its households water-saving showerheads. His point: conservation rather than diversion.

Read the complete article here.