Waukesha’s Bid to Divert Great Lakes Water Unnecessary Finds New Analysis

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A new, independent analysis released today shows that Waukesha, Wisconsin can provide clean drinking water to its residents without diverting water from Lake Michigan. An alternative plan developed by two engineering firms would solve the city’s water problem and cost Waukesha taxpayers tens of millions of dollars less than the current proposal to divert water from Lake Michigan. The alternative plan comes to light at a critical time as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is considering a precedent-setting water diversion application under the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, which could make Waukesha the first city straddling the Great Lakes’ borders to obtain Great Lakes water.

Authored by two engineering firms, GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. and Mead & Hunt, the “NonDiversion Solution” report released today focuses on a controversial point in Waukesha’s water diversion proposal. Waukesha’s current application includes a service area broader than the current households and businesses serviced by the city. Additionally, the need or desire of the additional communities in the expanded service area has never been fully justified. This is inconsistent with the Compact, as the agreement clearly states that diversions for communities that straddle the Great Lakes basin should only be considered as a last resort.

The Non-Diversion Solution released today examines Waukesha’s current water service area, while allowing for future residential and industrial growth within that area. The engineering report concludes that Waukesha can continue to use its existing sources – shallow and deep water wells – if radium treatment is added to three of its wells. The report finds that the Non-Diversion Solution alternative is cheaper for taxpayers and will provide Waukesha residents and businesses with clean and healthy water supplies today and into the future.

Follow the link below for the full press release:

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