Waukesha's water diversion application is one step closer to final approval or dismissal following a vote last Wednesday, May 18 from Greats Lake Regional Body officials who affirmed the city's application complies with the Great Lakes Compact.
Specifically, the group voted that the application would comply with the compact if it met certain conditions, such as a reduced service or distribution area and a draw of no more than 8.2 million gallons of Lake Michigan water per day by mid-century.
The application is scheduled to go before the governors of the eight Great Lakes states for a final vote June 21 in Chicago.
'A final decision has not yet been made, but we are hopeful that all the Great Lakes states will agree with the regional body's findings,' Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said. 'The citizens of Waukesha need the healthy and sustainable water supply that only borrowing and returning Lake Michigan water can reasonably provide.'
Great Lakes conservation groups, which have opposed the application, released a statement the day of the regional body vote that said in part the groups were 'disappointed that the regional body did not completely reject Waukesha's flawed diversion proposal.'
The city filed its diversion application in 2010 in an attempt to meet its long-term water needs and comply with radium restrictions. Waukesha is under a court-ordered deadline to have radium-compliant water by 2018.
Waukesha's application for Lake Michigan water, the first of its kind is allowed under a 'straddling county' provision of the Great Lakes Compact, a federal law that details how the Great Lakes states should work together to manage and protect the Great Lakes Basin.
The application can only be approved with a unanimous, favorable vote by the Great Lakes governors or their representatives.