The Canadian Press, March 6, 2016
Author: Diana Mehta
TORONTO – A request by a small city in Wisconsin to draw water from the Great Lakes is causing concern among American and Canadian communities around the basin, with some opponents warning the move could set a dangerous precedent for other jurisdictions facing water shortages.
Waukesha, a city of about 70,000 people, wants to divert water from Lake Michigan because its own aquifer is running low and the water is contaminated with high levels of naturally occurring cancer-causing radium.
The city argues that although it’s located outside the boundary of the Great Lakes basin, it is part of a county straddling that geographical line and therefore should be allowed access to the lakes’ water. It also promises to return treated water to Lake Michigan.
Under a current regional agreement between eight U.S. states and Ontario and Quebec, diversions of water away from the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin are banned, with limited exceptions that can be made only when certain conditions are met.