First request to divert Great Lakes water heads to regional governors and premiers


An application by the city of Waukesha, Wis., to divert Great Lakes water was forwarded by Wisconsin today to the governors of the eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian premiers.

The action by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is the first time a request to divert Great Lakes water has been put to the region’s governors and premiers since passage of the Great Lakes Compact— a historic pact to prevent water diversions of the iconic Lakes, while promoting wise water use in the region.

Marc Smith of the National Wildlife Federation and Molly Flanagan of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, both of whom serve on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council Advisory Committee, issued the following statement:

“We look forward to reviewing the final application. We remain concerned, however, based on the city’s previous draft application that Waukesha has, to date, failed to demonstrate that it needs to divert Great Lakes water — and had no other alternative — to meet its needs. In fact, independent analyses have shown that Waukesha can meet its water needs — saving upwards of $150 million — by relying on existing water supplies, removing towns from the application that do not need water, and following its own water conservation plans. That’s why we remain skeptical that this request to divert Great Lakes water meets the strict and protective standards of the Great Lakes compact."

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