Waukesha Plan To Divert Lake Michigan Water Gets Preliminary OK From State

All 8 Great Lakes States Will Need To Approve Plan Before It Moves Forward

Daniel X. O'Neill (CC-BY)

The Department of Natural Resources has given preliminary approval to Waukesha’s plan to divert drinking water from Lake Michigan.

An agreement called the Great Lakes Compact was partly aimed at preventing large amounts of lake water from being hauled to other states and countries. But Waukesha, just outside the Great Lakes basin, wants Lake Michigan water to replace city groundwater that has relatively high amounts of radium. A draft environmental impact statement released today by the DNR concludes Waukesha’s proposal appears to meet key technical requirements.

Cheryl Nenn of Milwaukee Riverkeeper, a clean water advocacy group, questions that finding.

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“We still don’t feel that Waukesha has really met the high bar of the compact, as far as demonstrating that they have no reasonable water supply alternative except for the Great Lakes,” said Nenn.

Public hearings on Waukesha’s plan will be held in August. Eventually, all eight Great Lakes states would have to approve the water diversion before it could go forward.