Waukesha official defends water diversion

Jun 7, 2016

Waukesha's Lake Michigan diversion application includes this image of where Wisconsin counties lie in relation to the Great Lakes watershed.
Credit City of Waukesha, Wisconsin

Great Lakes governors will decide in a couple of weeks whether to approve a diversion of  Lake Michigan water to Waukesha, Wisconsin. That city’s water is contaminated with radium. A Waukesha water official explains why the diversion is justified.

In two weeks, a final decision will come on the Waukesha water diversion request. The governors of the eight U.S. states bordering the Great Lakes, including Michigan’s Rick Snyder, will vote on the Wisconsin city’s request to divert Lake Michigan water for its use because of radium in its local water supply. As a city straddling the Great Lakes basin, Waukesha’s request is allowed under the provisions of the Great Lakes compact.

Last month, the 10-member Great Lakes Compact Council, which includes representatives from two Canadian provinces, recommended approval of the request. However, many environmentalists oppose approval, fearing it will set a precedent that will lead to more diversion requests.

Today, we talk with a supporter of Waukesha’s request. Dan Duchniak is an employee of the city of Waukesha, serving as the General Manager of its water utility.

This segment is supported by Michigan State University's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. More news about the Great Lakes environment can be found at GreatLakesEcho.org and on Current State every Tuesday as part of our partnership.