Today, representatives of the Governors of the eight Great Lakes states approved the diversion application of the City of Waukesha, WI, under the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Water Resources Compact to take water from Lake Michigan and use it outside the Great Lakes basin.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative expressed disappointment with the decision.

In a statement, they said, “It sets a dangerous precedent that leads to more and more cities and counties all around the basin in the U.S. and Canada qualifying for Great Lakes and St. Lawrence water.”

The Cities Initiative asserted that the application does not meet the terms of the Great Lakes Compact–the legally binding agreement between Canada and the U.S governing such decisions. They stated, “Waukesha will provide water to areas outside the City, will likely damage the Root River with the return flow, and has a reasonable alternative to treat their groundwater as many other communities in Wisconsin and neighbouring states are doing.”

The group said they will explore options to maintain the utmost protection of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is a binational coalition of 123 mayors and other local officials that works actively with federal, state, provincial, tribal, and first nation governments and other stakeholders to advance the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. For more information, please visit

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