Mayors challenge Lake Michigan water withdrawal

Mar 21, 2017

A ruling that would allow the city of Waukesha, Wisc., to draw water from Lake Michigan triggered criticism as soon as it was issued last summer. Monday, some of those critics sought a reversal, as WUWM's Susan Bence reports. 

The Great Lakes Compact Council convened in Chicago Monday.
Credit Susan Bence, WUWM

The issue is far-reaching, because the Milwaukee suburb would be the first locality outside the Great Lakes basin to draw water from one of the lakes. Waukesha wants water from Lake Michigan because its wells are contaminated with radium.

In January, Bence reported for Great Lakes Today that Waukesha officials were moving "full speed ahead" to tap into Lake Michigan.

But opponents, including a group of U.S. and Canadian mayors, worry about setting a precedent by giving Waukesha permission. The mayors want the Compact Council, a regulatory group, to change its decision -- and that was the subject of Monday's hearing in Chicago.

As WUWM reports, Michigan Compact Council delegate Grant Trigger said his state reviewed Waukesha’s application and he was confident that the council made the right decision. Still, he said the council would consider the critics' arguments.

A decision on the appeal is expected in early May.