89.1 WEMU

Great Lakes Governors To Vote On Waukesha Water Diversion

Jun 21, 2016

Lake Michigan Sleeping Bear Dunes
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

There’s a vote today in Chicago by the Great Lakes states on whether Waukesha-Wisconsin will be allowed to divert millions of gallons of water from Lake Michigan.  


Waukesha lies just outside the boundaries of the Great Lake basin.  A technicality in the 2008 Great Lakes Compact allows the city to make the request.  It has to be a unanimous vote of the eight Great Lakes states to allow the withdrawal to occur.  

Waukesha wants to tap into Lake Michigan to replace its water supply that’s been contaminated by radium.  Part of the deal is a promise that almost all the water will  be used, treated, and returned to the Great Lakes. 

Right now, the city is tapping into deep water wells that draw water from Lake Michigan.  But that water is currently sent to the Mississippi River after it’s been used and treated.

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org