Great Lakes Environmental Groups Tour Waukesha
Representatives from environmental and conservation groups from six other Great Lakes states recently toured Waukesha to get a better understanding of Waukesha's need to for Great Lakes water. Waukesha needs the approval of the eight Great Lakes states to divert Lake Michigan water across the sub-concontinental divide, a practice that has tradionally been prohibited by a Great Lakes protection compact. Waukesha is the first community outside the Great Lakes drainage basin to seek such an exception. The out-of-state groups want to make sure that, if the deal were to be approved, Waukesha would follow the rules of the compact.
Milwaukee Riverkeeper, and other local environmental groups, joined on the tour to voice their concern about the deal. There remains concern that Waukesha would use Lake Michigan water to expand beyond its current service area, which could set a dangerous precedent for future communities seeking to divert Great Lakes water. Following the tour, Mayor Barrett strongly reiterated this concern, saying that the City of Waukesha would face a "buzz saw" of opposition from the other Great Lakes states if Waukesha continues its plan to use Lake Michigan water outside its current service area boundary.