Wisconsin city proposing to draw L. Michigan water away from Gt. Lakes basin

The Manitoulin Expositer, January 27, 2016
Author: Alicia McCutcheon

LAKE HURON—The people of Manitoulin Island and the rest of Ontario are being encouraged by the province to comment on the City of Waukesha, Wisconsin’s Water Diversion Application with time ticking away on this crucial, possibly precedent-setting, petition for the diversion of Great Lakes water.

Under the Great Lakes Compact, signed by the eight Great Lakes states, and its accompanying Agreement (which also includes the provinces of Ontario and Quebec), diversions to areas located outside of the basin are banned with limited exceptions.

“The City of Waukesha, Wisconsin, is a community in a county that straddles the Basin divide and has applied for such an exception,” the city’s website states. “The city proposes to divert up to 10.1 million gallons per day of basin water, based on a projected average daily demand for its planned water service area at full build-out (approximately by 2050). The State of Wisconsin has prepared a technical review evaluating the city’s application for compliance with the Compact and Agreement criteria for an exception to the ban on diversions, and Wisconsin has forwarded the application to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors’ and Premiers’ Regional Body and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council (Governors’ Compact Council).”

Ontario and Quebec do not have a seat at the Governors’ Compact Council, but the premiers do have an advisory role. Premier Kathleen Wynne has asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) to be her designate during this process.