Ottawa, Ontario - The U.S. and Canadian Advisors to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission
recently passed a resolution calling for the Great Lakes Compact Council to deny
Waukesha’s diversion request at its upcoming meeting on June 21, 2016. The resolution
also urges the provincial premiers of Ontario and Quebec to communicate their ongoing
concerns, and lack of support for the request, to the Council.
The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Basin Water Sustainable Resources Agreement and
the corresponding Great Lakes Compact ban the export of water out of the Great Lakes
basin except for certain specified exceptions. It was under the "exception" provision
the City of Waukesha, Wisconsin, which is not located within the Great Lakes basin
but is in a county that straddles the basin boundary, submitted the request to divert
10.1 million gallons water daily from Lake Michigan. This is the first application
that has been made under the "exception" provision. The advisors passed the resolution
during the Commission’s 61st Annual Meeting held in Ottawa, Ontario, June 9-10,
2016. A copy is available online at http://www.glfc.org/staff/resol2016_1.pdf.
In May 2016, the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Regional Body recommended approval
of the City of Waukesha’s diversion request contingent upon a number of revisions
to the request. One of those revisions prohibited the distribution of water beyond
the city limits of Waukesha and another reduced the amount of water from 10.1 million
gallons to 8.2 million gallons per day. These revisions, and the others, were passed
to the Great Lakes Compact Council for their consideration prior to their upcoming
meeting later this month where a final ruling on the diversion request is expected.
John Jackson, the vice-chair of the Canadian Committee of Advisors, hailed the decisiveness
of the U.S. and Canadian Advisors in their resolve to protect Great Lakes water.
"This resolution calls upon states and provinces to recognize that Waukesha’s request
does not meet the requirements for an exception. The request failed to show that
no other alternatives would address the city’s water needs, provided inadequate
commitments for water conservation, and did not show that cumulative impacts were
properly assessed. In short, the requirements for an exception were put there to
provide a safeguard from this type of irresponsible request to take water from the
"The advisors are concerned that if the City of Waukesha’s request is approved,
a precedent would be set for future requests" said Captain Denny Grinold, chair
of the U.S. Committee of Advisors and President of the Michigan Charter Boat Association.
"The Great Lakes are the largest source of freshwater in the world and must be managed
with caution. We have heard overwhelming public opposition to the diversion request
because the citizens of the Great Lakes basin recognize that our water is our greatest
resource. If we do not protect our water, the cascading effects to the fishery will
The Committee of Advisors consists of both U.S. and Canadian representatives, from
First Nation, commercial, recreational, academic, agency, and public fishery interests
in the Great Lakes Basin. Advisors provide advice to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission;
U.S. advisors are nominated by the State Governors, and appointed by the commission.
Canadian advisors are nominated by the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and
appointed by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.