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Clean Wisconsin, MIlwaukee Riverkeeper: Letter to Waukesha highlights deficiencies in water diversion application
11/23/2010

Contact: Melissa Malott, Clean Wisconsin, 608.220.0167; Cheryl Nenn, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, 414.378.3043

Coalition offers to assist city in completing and strengthening application

Waukesha, Wis – A coalition of environmental organizations sent the city of Waukesha a letter today outlining solutions to critical deficiencies in the city’s application to divert water from Lake Michigan under the Great Lakes Compact.

“Waukesha’s current application does not meet requirements set in the Great Lakes Compact,” said Melissa Malott, staff attorney at Clean Wisconsin. “This application is being carefully reviewed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and will face greater scrutiny at the regional level. Our goal is to help Waukesha complete a strong application that sets a precedent for water diversion applications throughout the region.”

To gain access to Lake Michigan water, Waukesha’s application must be approved both by the Wisconsin DNR and a regional body comprised of all eight Great Lakes states. The letter comes two days before Waukesha and the DNR were to meet to discuss what the city must do to complete its application.

“The Great Lakes Compact sets appropriate and reasonable standards to protect, preserve, and properly manage the critically important Great Lakes. These standards ensure that diversions outside of the Basin will be rare, minimal, and allowed only when no reasonable alternative exists,” reads the letter. “Waukesha’s application for a diversion must be sufficient to meet the standards of the Great Lakes Compact, and it will be scrutinized as the precedent-setting diversion application for a community outside of the basin.”

In the letter sent today, the Wisconsin Compact Implementation Coalition identifies areas of the application that must be improved to be complete. Specifically, the letter highlights the need for Waukesha’s application to:

* Thoroughly evaluate water supply alternatives to Lake Michigan water including the amount of water that can be reasonably supplied by water conservation and efficiency measures, the city’s deep and shallow aquifers, riverbank filtration or inducement, and quarries.

* Provide more thorough details and analysis for the city’s water conservation plan.

* Fully evaluate all of its options, costs, and environmental impacts relating to returning water to Lake Michigan.

“To win state and regional approval, Waukesha must revise and strengthen its application to meet the standards set in the Great Lakes Compact and set a strong precedent that protects the water in our beautiful Great Lakes,” said Cheryl Nenn, of Milwaukee Riverkeeper. “We hope Waukesha will use this letter and our coalition as a resource to help improve and strengthen its application.”

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The Compact Implementation Coalition is a diverse group of environmental conservation organizations working on water and related issues in Waukesha, southeastern Wisconsin, and statewide. The coalition is committed to the proper implementation of the Great Lakes Compact in Wisconsin. Members include Waukesha County Environmental Action League, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Clean Wisconsin, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, River Alliance of Wisconsin, and Sixteenth Street Community Health Center.


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