Great Lakes Compact

A computer that says "Foxconn"
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The Michigan-based water law non-profit “For Love of Water,” or "FLOW," filed an amicus brief this week in support of a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Today on Stateside, Representative-elect for Michigan's 8th District Elissa Slotkin tells us why she joined 45 fellow freshman House Democrats and signed a letter pushing for change from party leaders. Plus, the president of a coalition of Great Lakes mayors weighs in on the Great Lakes Compact Council's recent announcement that it will change how it reviews water withdrawals. 

 

President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan will be in Wisconsin this Thursday for the groundbreaking of the $10 billion Foxconn plant.

The Taiwanese electronics company has promised thousands of jobs in Racine County and in return has been offered $4.5 billion in tax incentives. 

Now that the state has approved a permit for Nestle to remove more water from its Osceola County well, opposition is growing.

Among the critics: Macomb County Public Works Commissioner and former Republican congresswoman Candice Miller.

NASA Landsat

The city of Waukesha, Wisconsin has high levels of radium in its water supply. The city hopes to solve the problem by taking water out of Lake Michigan.

Waukesha is in a county that straddles the Great Lakes basin and under the Great Lakes Compact, it’s allowed to ask for a water diversion. Waukesha’s proposal is now before the eight Great Lakes states that make up the compact. They’ll decide whether or not to allow the diversion.

Waukesha wants to build a pipeline to the Great Lakes.

The city is in southeast Wisconsin, 17 miles from Lake Michigan. It has a radium problem in its groundwater supply.

Radium occurs naturally, but it’s a carcinogen.

Dan Duchniak, general manager of the Waukesha Water Utility, says as the city’s groundwater supply has been drawn down, it’s made the high radium concentration worse.

“And ultimately the radium exceeded the federal drinking water standard and we are now under a court order to come into compliance with that, and the means by which we are going to do that is to develop a new water supply,” he says.

The city has to come up with a permanent solution for its radium problem by 2018.

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Michigan is fortunate to have one of the largest sources of fresh water in the world. And much of it is protected by the Great Lakes Compact. Many other states are not so fortunate.

 

Interlochen Public Radio is hosting the Circle of Blue, a Michigan-based source of news about the world’s water supply founded by journalists and scientists, on a series of virtual town halls about the future of water. To find out more, visit h2ocatalyst.org.

 

Wisconsin town wants a drink of Lake Michigan water

Jul 21, 2015
NASA Landsat

The Great Lakes Compact is facing its first big challenge. Signed into law in 2008 by the leaders of eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces, the compact says only communities in the Great Lakes Basin can draw their drinking water from the lakes.

The challenge to the compact is not coming from thirsty states like California or Texas. It comes from Waukesha, Wisconsin – a suburb of Milwaukee that’s only about 15 miles from Lake Michigan.

The two reasons: 1) the process of moving water that far, and that high, wouldn't make economic sense; 2) Great Lakes water is locked down politically.

The ongoing drought in California has hit its fourth year. 

The City of Waukesha, Wisconsin says it has nowhere else to go for water but to the Great Lakes. This week, it submitted an application to take 10 million gallons a day, on average, from Lake Michigan. But first it would have to meet a number of strict requirements that all eight Great Lakes states have agreed to.

Exception to Ban

The states hammered out a ban on water diversions over several years and the governors signed it and the Congress ratified it five years ago.