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Waukesha Says New Website Conveys Regional Cooperation on Lake Michigan Diversion

The City unveiled its website today before a crowd of Waukesha business and community leaders.

Credit Susan Bence
Dan Duchniak (center) greets attendees at breakfast meeting at which Great Water Alliance campaign was unveiled.

Water utility director Dan Duchniak says it is important to keep residents throughout the region informed as Waukesha proceeds with plans to draw drinking water from Lake Michigan.

“Not only Waukesha, but Franklin, Oak Creek, Muskego, New Berlin and Racine will be impacted by the project,” Duchniak says.

Construction has not yet begun.

An engineering team is figuring out the exact route of two pipelines: one to bring Lake Michigan water via Oak Creek to Waukesha; the other will carry the city’s treated waste water to the Root River. The water will then flow back into Lake Michigan in Racine.

Duchniak describes the project as full steam ahead, but it has not been without controversy. Last June the Compact Council, which represents all eight Great Lakes states, unanimously approved Waukesha’s application.

Less than two months later a consortium of Canadian and Great Lakes mayorschallenged the decision.

On March 20 the Compact Council will gather in Chicago to listen to what both sides have to say.

Critics and advocates alike have called the Waukesha diversion a momentous decision.

It is the first application to divert Great Lakes water since the inception of the Great Lakes Compact in 2008.

The Compact allows a community outside the basin to request water if it is located within a county straddling the basin, and if the community has no other sustainable drinking water solution.

Susan is WUWM's environmental reporter.
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