Great Lakes group moves Waukesha water request forward | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Great Lakes group moves Waukesha water request forward

May 19, 2016 - 6:27 AM

WAUKESHA, Wis. - Representatives of Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces have given preliminary approval to a precedent-setting request by a Wisconsin city to draw water from Lake Michigan.

The group, which includes Ontario and Quebec, agreed that the water diversion application by the city of Waukesha complies with a regional agreement if certain conditions are met.

Those conditions include service to a smaller area and an average limit of 31 million litres a day.

The agreement requires a unanimous vote of approval by the eight states. Minnesota abstained from voting during a conference call Wednesday.

The premiers of Ontario and Quebec do not get to vote at that time but The Journal Sentinel reports their representatives in the group recommended approval of the request with conditions.

Ontario had previously expressed concerns about the request and found that the potential impacts of the proposed diversion on Great Lakes water quantity had not been sufficiently assessed.

The Journal Sentinel says governors of the eight states, or their representatives, will meet in Chicago in late June to consider the group's conditional approval and vote on Waukesha's request.

The city says it doesn't have an adequate drinking water supply because of radium contamination in its groundwater.

Under the current regional agreement, diversions of water away from the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin are banned, with limited exceptions that can be made only when certain conditions are met.

Waukesha argues that although it's located outside the boundary of the Great Lakes basin, it is part of a county straddling that geographical line and should be allowed access to the lakes' water.

It also promises to return treated water to Lake Michigan.

-with files from The Canadian Press

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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