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Great Lakes Committee Meets Again To Resolve Waukesha’s Lake Michigan Water Diversion Request

Officials From Minnesota, Michigan Still Have Concerns About Proposed Plan


The committee reviewing the city of Waukesha’s proposal to take drinking water from Lake Michigan will try again on Wednesday morning to reach consensus, but at least two states have concerns about the plan.

The panel has been trying for two months to reach an agreement. Minnesota officials said they’re worried about being able to enforce conditions attached to Waukesha’s water diversion.

Waukesha Water Utility general manager Dan Duchniak said his city would have to report its actions to the state of Wisconsin and the other Great lakes states.

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“And all those records need to be available on our website or the state’s website so the public will have knowledge of exactly the volume of water we’re taking and the amount we’re returning,” said Duchniak.

Michigan officials said they want to make sure there wouldn’t be other threats to local groundwater if Waukesha would stop using its wells and switch to lake water. Duchniak said that would up to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in its review of high-capacity well projects.

Cheryl Nenn, of Milwaukee Riverkeeper, also said enforcement is an issue.

“How often reporting is going to be required to the regional body? If citizens see something promised isn’t happening, is there a way for citizens to intervene in the process?” said Nenn.

Officials with the Waukesha Water Utility said they would have to report the amount of water it takes from Lake Michigan and the quantity of treated wastewater it returns to the lake to both the state of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes governors.