The National Wildlife Federation and the Alliance for the Great Lakes say Waukesha has failed to prove it has exhausted all reasonable options for getting water; has failed to prove it needs the water; included in its application other towns that don’t need the water and has a feasible alternative of treating the water it draws from deep and shallow wells to remove the radium. Of 11,200 messages gathered during a 60-day public comment period that ended in March, 98.5 percent were opposed to granting the diversion.
"It almost seems to me like you’ve implied a need but you haven’t stated it. Communities in septic and well and you expect they’re gonna need it, that’s an implied need," said Daniel Injerd, Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
"We want to make sure that this important water resource is used sustainably now and into the future," said Peter Johnson, Great Lakes St. Lawrence River Water Resources Body Deputy Director.
The compact requires unanimous approval of the governors of each of the eight states, plus the leaders of two Canadian provinces. Waukesha is the first community outside the Great Lakes Basin to ask for a diversion of lake water under the 2008 Great Lakes Protection Compact.
“I don’t want to do something that in five years from now we’re gonna regret," said Injerd
CHICAGO — An organization representing more than 100 local governments is fighting an effort by Waukesha to use Lake Michigan as its drinking water source.
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative sent letters of opposition Tuesday to the eight states and two Canadian provinces adjoining the lakes.
Waukesha is outside the Great Lakes’ geographical boundary but is part of a county that straddles the line. Under a regional compact, such communities can apply to withdraw water from the lakes. But permission is needed from all eight states.
Waukesha says it needs to tap Lake Michigan because its groundwater is contaminated. It promises to return as much water as it takes.
But the cities initiative says Waukesha has better alternatives and the proposed withdrawal could set a bad precedent.