Great Lakes water to venture beyond its basin?

The City of Waukesha developed rapidly over the past decade with the expansion of new businesses and residential developments. Now it is faced with dwindling water supplies. The City claims that its groundwater feeds Lake Michigan, so it should receive some water from the great lake. Whether this is true or not should first be studied. But other questions need to be answered as well.

Waukesha and surrounding communities grew rapidly since the early 1990’s (if I remember correctly). This means that they have lost a lot of natural meadows and landscapes that would have otherwise retained a lot of moisture and fed their aquifers. With road expansion and new developments, the communities are experiencing more storm water runoff. This results in more street level pollution. Lake Michigan already has a number of problems with storm water runoff from the City of Milwaukee and other coastal communities. And pollution and invasive species continue to plague the Great Lakes. These problems need addressing, and action plans must start happening before Great Lakes water can go to other areas outside of the natural basins.

Finally, the City of Waukesha’s claim needs to be confirmed. This should be done via an independent scientific study, perhaps by contracting with the United States Geological Survey (if that’s the federal agency that could conduct such a study). The findings should be verified by Wisconsin’s Legislative Audit Bureau and either the federal Government Accountability Office. This study should remain outside the political arena as much as possible.

JSOnline article: Water issues build steam