Thirsty cities begin to eye water from the Great Lakes

The Star Tribune, April 16, 2016
Author: Josephine Marcotty

Growth grab?

Waukesha, a well-to-do suburb west of Milwaukee, is the first that sits entirely outside the Great Lakes watershed to ask.

The city’s drinking water is contaminated with radium, a naturally occurring pollutant that can cause cancer. In addition, its water comes from deep aquifers that are running dry, and the city is under court order to find another source.

After more than a decade of analysis and reviewing many alternatives, both the city and the state concluded that Lake Michigan is the town’s only reasonable option, and that it fits the requirements of the compact.

The chorus of outraged disagreement, however, has been deafening.

“Waukesha simply assumes that its proposal to seize water from Lake Michigan will solve problems it could have more inexpensively and simply solved without drastic resort to the use of Lake Michigan water,” wrote 100 members of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus, including many legislators from Minnesota.