The above video sends a message that you all should know about…
Did you know that right now, the Great Lakes governors and Canadian premiers of Ontario and Quebec are reviewing the first Great Lakes diversion proposal under a new law – called the Great Lakes Compact?
More info can be found here
For those that don’t know, the Compact bans diverting Great Lakes water outside of the Great Lakes basin, with limited exceptions. All 8 Great Lake governors must approve this. All it takes is one veto to stop the diversion. As currently written and submitted, this diversion does not meet the exception standards of the Compact. Thus should be denied.
Whether you hunt, fish, birdwatch, camp, canoe, or swim…the Great Lakes are a value to all of us. They provide a cultural and economic identity. They are part of our lives and help define who we are as a region — and thus must be protected.
The Great Lakes Compact was designed and adopted to do just that: Protect our Great Lakes. The heart and soul of the Great Lakes Compact is the ban on diversions. Only under the Compact’s exception standard can a community apply for a diversion.
The Compact says that a community (such as Waukesha) applying for a diversion must demonstrate a need for water and demonstrate that there is no reasonable alternative to obtain water.
In essence – in my opinion – diversions, under the Compact, are a last resort.
As this is the first diversion application since the Compact passed in 2008… today…we are writing history. This process and application represent a critical proving ground for the Compact: establishing its effectiveness and serving as a precedent for subsequent diversion proposals. So, we have to get this right.
This is not about saying NO to a town. Rather, this is about following the Compact standards.
We are concerned that this application fails to meet those standards.
Here is why:
1) The diversion proposal does not justify why Waukesha needs so much more water than it is currently using (they are currently using 6 mgpd on average – but are requesting a max capacity of 16 mgpd). That is quite a jump and is not consistent with demand forecasts and historic trends that show water usage in the region is on the decline.
2) The diversion proposal does not consider all reasonable alternatives to provide water to its residents. Ie: treating for radium. That seems the obvious alternative – if not reasonable. Obvious and reasonable because almost 40 other towns in SE WI (let alone many others across the country) have chosen this route as a way to provide water to their communities.
3) This proposal would divert Great Lakes water to communities that do not need it. Nor do those towns have plans to hook up now or in the future. This ‘extended service area’ goes well beyond the intent of the Great Lakes Compact.
Diverting Great Lakes water to towns that have not demonstrated a need??? This is clearly not consistent with the exception standard in the Compact.
4) The return flow plan would discharge treated wastewater to Racine (a community who does not want this – nor had any say in this decision).
These concerns raise many questions about this application meeting the exception standards in the Compact.
The Great Lakes states and provinces spent years – many long hours in windowless hotel conference rooms – debating these standards. Now is the time to ensure those standards are now met and applied to this diversion proposal.
Given these concerns, we feel this application falls well short of the Compact requirements.