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Under the “Great Lakes Compact” and the companion Agreement, diversions of water from the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin (Basin) to areas outside the Basin are banned with limited exceptions that are available only when rigorous standards as described in the Compact and Agreement are met. The City of Waukesha, Wisconsin, is a community in a county that straddles the Basin divide and has applied for such an exception. The City proposes to divert up to 10.1 million gallons per day of Basin water, based on a projected average daily demand for its planned water service area at full build-out (approximately 2050). The State of Wisconsin has prepared a technical review evaluating the City’s application for compliance with the Compact and Agreement criteria for an exception to the ban on diversions, and Wisconsin has forwarded the application to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors’ and Premiers’ Regional Body and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council (Governors' Compact Council).

The Regional Body and Compact Council have begun a review of the application. When the Regional Body's review is concluded (anticipated to be in April), it will issue a Declaration of Finding regarding the application’s consistency with regional standards. Under the Agreement that Declaration of Finding may be a denial, an approval, or an approval with conditions. The Governors’ Compact Council will consider the Regional Body’s Declaration and then issue the final decision on the application. If all members of the Governors’ Compact Council vote to approve or approve with conditions, the State of Wisconsin can then proceed with its regulatory decision making and permitting as appropriate. If there is a dissenting vote, then the application cannot move forward.

Wisconsin Counties within Great Lakes Basin

Major Features of the Regional Review Process being jointly managed by the Regional Body and Compact Council:

  • Application forwarded to Regional Body/Compact Council by the State of Wisconsin
  • Public briefing describing proposal and process.  Public comment period begins.
  • Public Q&A Meeting/Public Hearing in Wisconsin.
  • Meeting of the Regional Body to consider the Declaration of Finding.
  • Meeting of the Compact Council on a date to be determined and decision made on proposal.
  • Decision forwarded to State of Wisconsin for final State action.

Public comment and participation will be important in the decision making process. Comments could be submitted on and after January 12, 2016 through March 14, 2016 to both the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Water Resources Regional Body and Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council.

Comments submitted prior to January 12, 2016 and after March 14, 2016 will not be considered.