Waukesha residents will have an opportunity to attend a public hearing regarding the city’s application to use water from Lake Michigan as an alternative to continuing to deplete the city’s own progressively more polluted aquifer.
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council, a governing body representing each state bordering the lakes, will hold meetings and a public hearing on Feb. 17 and 18 at Carroll University in Waukesha.
Waukesha residents, over time, have seen water levels in their local aquifer drop. Their water supply has become more polluted by sediment as a result.
Waukesha falls outside the Lake Michigan watershed. Because of that geographical location, the city must first get the approval of each state bordering the Great Lakes before tapping into the lake’s water supply.
The city has applied to withdraw up to an average of 10.1 million gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan. The most that could be withdrawn, if its application were approved, would be 16.7 million gallons a day.
Although the city has employed several conservation efforts, including the banning of daytime sprinkling and requiring irrigation systems to be equipped with special sensors, the aquifer’s water levels are still falling.