Challenge to Waukesha Diversion Approval & Settlement Agreement with Compact Council

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, past 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

Agreement with Compact Council & Challenge Settlement: August 2nd, 2017

Member City Municipal Resolutions

Supplemental Submission to Compact Council: December 19th, 2016

Submission to Compact Council: September 16th, 2016

Request for Hearing: August 22nd, 2016

Statement Regarding Approval of Waukesha's Diversion Application: June 21st, 2016

Press Release: Cities Initiative Annual Meeting, June 16th, 2016

Update Following Regional Body Meetings: Update – May 11, 2016

Press Release Regarding Regional Body Meeting: April 20th, 2016

Board of Directors passes Resolution: Opposing the Waukesha Water Diversion, February 11th, 2016

Waukesha Hearing, August 17th, 2015: Testimony – August 17th, 2015


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.