Waukesha to buy water from Lake Michigan

After years of debate, the multistate Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council unanimously approved a plan for the City of Waukesha to purchase water from Lake Michigan for use only in its existing service area.

Waukesha, which has had a problem with high radium levels in its underground wells for years, has a $200 million plan to alleviate its water issues by purchasing the water from Oak Creek, building the infrastructure needed to pipe it west, treating and cleaning it after use, and then depositing it back into the Root River so it can return to Lake Michigan through Racine.

The council, comprised of representatives of the governors of eight Great Lakes states, approved Waukesha’s request on the condition that it only draws a daily average of 8.2 million gallons.

The decision is considered precedent setting for communities seeking Great Lakes water in the future.