Great Lakes Watershed Moment

The London Free Press, February 23, 2016
Author: Debora Van Brenk

Chances are you’ve never heard of Waukesha, a Milwaukee bedroom community that’s making waves by asking for just a sip — a precedent-setting sip — of Great Lakes water.

The Wisconsin city, about the same size as Sarnia, says the impact of it piping in Lake Michigan water would be as small as scooping a spoonful from an Olympic-sized swimming pool each day and returning it the next.

But critics say approving the contentious plan would make this just the first drip in a cascade of demands for Great Lakes water from parched communities across the ­continent.

“The issue is: Waukesha today, who else tomorrow? If we’re not minding the store properly, where does it end?” asks Geoff Peach, head of the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation, based in Goderich.

“We have a limited supply of water in the Great Lakes. Even though we have 20 per cent of the fresh water in the world, it’s not ubiquitous. It’s not an unlimited supply,” he said.