Waukesha water application faces opposition at start of Great Lakes review

Milwaukee Business Journal, January 7, 2016
Author: Sean Ryan

A council of states surrounding the Great Lakes on Thursday took its first look at Waukesha’s water application and, despite protests from environmental groups, approved a budget for the review.

Waukesha’s application, besides being integral to the community’s future, has taken on international significance because it is the first of its kind to undergo a review under the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. A council with representatives of the states surrounding the Great Lakes, Ontario and Quebec, will decide whether Waukesha’s application satisfies the compact requirements.

That council held a phone conference on Thursday to kick off the review of Waukesha’s application. It also approved up to $261,668 in spending to analyze the application, an amount environmental groups criticized as too low. It also set the public comment period for the application, and announced a Feb. 18 public hearing at Carroll University in Waukesha.

The council is expected to issue a final decision in late May in Chicago.

Waukesha expects to use up to 10.1 million gallons of Lake Michigan water a day. It would buy water from the Oak Creek water utility, treat it and return it to Lake Michigan via the Root River.