Challenge to Waukesha Diversion Approval
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Sustainable Water Resources Council (Compact Council) approved the City of Waukesha’s request for a diversion of water from Lake Michigan on June 21st, 2016, after a review process. On August 19th, 2016, the Cities Initiative requested a hearing to challenge the decision. The challenge is to make sure the long term integrity of the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (the Compact) are preserved.
Mayor Denis Coderre of Montreal, Chair of the Cities Initiative, said, “For the Compact Council to grant an exception to the first application that does not meet the conditions of the Compact sets a very bad precedent. To make sure the Compact and Great Lakes are not compromised in the future, this decision should be overturned.”
Waukesha Diversion Application: Background
The City of Waukesha, Wisconsin was granted a diversion of water from the Great Lakes to the City. The City of Waukesha is located outside the Great Lakes basin, but lies within a county that straddles the boundary of the Great Lakes basin, which allows the City to make the request. After review by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the application received consensus approval by the Governors of the eight Great Lakes states. All eight governors approved the application . The Cities Initiative is concerned with the precedent-setting nature of this approval and does not believe it met the requirements of the Compact.
Cities Initiative Action
Ongoing: Member City Municipal Resolutions
- Resolutions or letters passed in support of Cities Initiative challenge: Ajax, Blue Mountains, Carling, Chatham-Kent, Cobourg, Collingwood, Essex County, Fort Erie, Halton Region, Huron-Kinloss, Montréal, MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Niagara Falls, Niagara Region, Nipigon, Port Colborne, Quebec Federation of Hunters and Fisherman, Sandusky, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Catharines, Tecumseh, Thunder Bay, Township of Tay, Verchères, Wasaga Beach, and Welland.
Supplemental Submission to Compact Council: December 19th, 2016
Submission to Compact Council: September 16th, 2016
Request for Hearing: August 22nd, 2016
- Press Release: August 22nd, 2016
- Press Coverage, US: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Wisconsin Public Radio, Duluth News Tribune, Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Business Journal – Part 2, Erie Media, WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio, WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio – Part 2, Waukesha Patch, Milwaukee BizTimes
- Press Coverage, Canada: CBC Windsor, Water Canada, Global News, Bayshore Broadcasting, National Post (Canada), Radio Canada International, Chronicle Journal (Northwest Ontario), Blackburn News Sarnia, Hamilton Spectator, New Hamburg Independent
- Request for Hearing: August 2016
- Letters : Prime Minister Trudeau (FR), President Obama, International Joint Commission, Prime Minister Trudeau (EN)
Statement Regarding Approval of Waukesha’s Diversion Application: June 21st, 2016
- Statement: June 21st, 2016: Regarding the Approval of Waukesha’s Diversion Application
Press Release: Cities Initiative Annual Meeting, June 16th, 2016
- Press Release – June 16th, 2016: Cities Initiative Annual Meeting
- Backgrounder – June 16th, 2016
- Circle of Blue: Waukesha Awaits Great Lakes Diversion Decision
- Blackburn News (ON): Great Lakes water wanted
- Toledo Blade (OH): Wisconsin city’s water bid is testing compact
- Journal Times (WI): Mayors make final push against Waukesha lake diversion
- Winnipeg Free Press: US, Canadian mayors oppose Wisconsin city’s Great Lakes water diversion request
- Lockport Journal (NY): Great Lakes mayors’ group opposes water diversion
- NetNews Ledger: Mayors Oppose Waukesha Water Diversion
- Resolution: Opposing the Waukesha Water Diversion
- Please note that the City of Milwaukee, WI abstained from voting on the above resolution and that the City of Oak Creek, WI has indicated that it differs from the Cities Initiative’s position on this matter.
Update Following Regional Body Meetings: Update – May 11, 2016
Press Release Regarding Regional Body Meeting: April 20th, 2016
- Press Release: April 20th, 2016
- Press Release – Corrected – April 20th, 2016
Board of Directors passes Resolution: Opposing the Waukesha Water Diversion, February 11th, 2016
- Resolution passed by the Board of Directors – February 11th, 2016
- Toronto, Whitby, Lambton County, Huron-Kinloss, Parry Sound, Chatham-Kent, Sorel-Tracy, the Township of the Archipelago, Bayfield, Bécancour, Mississauga (jointly with The Regional Municipality of Peel and the Credit Valley Conservation Authority), Montréal, Québec City, Rimouski, the Township of Tiny and Salaberry-de-Valleyfield pass supporting resolutions and/or letters
- Fact Sheet and Position Statement
- Press Release – February 16th, 2016
Waukesha Hearing, August 17th, 2015: Testimony – August 17th, 2015
- Full calendar at: http://www.waukeshadiversion.org/calendar/
About the Compact and Agreement
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Sustainable Water Resources Agreement and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Sustainable Water Resources Compact (Compact and Agreement) provide guidance on how the states and provinces will manage and protect the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. The Agreement was signed in 2005 by the governors of the eight Great Lakes states and the premiers of Ontario and Quebec. The Compact was ratified by the eight governors and became state and federal law in 2008, and is the means by which the United States implements the Agreement.
- Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Sustainable Water Resources Agreement
- Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Water Resources Compact
- Compact Council: Composed of the governors of the 8 Great Lakes states. The Council approves or denies any requests for diverting Great Lakes water.
- Regional Body: Composed of the governors of the 8 Great Lakes states as well as the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec. The Regional Body reviews diversion applications but does not hold power to make final decisions on such requests.