Our Fresh Water: The Great Lakes


The Great Lakes represent the largest body of fresh water on our planet, holding nearly 20% of the world’s fresh water and approximately 90% of North America’s fresh surface water. The way humanity manages the upkeep of these sacred bodies of water will decide many things in years to come. Signed in to law by President George W. Bush in 2008, The Great Lakes Compact would ban diversion of water outside the basin, with limited exceptions. The Compact requires each Great Lakes State and province to set up water management programs to ensure the water we have is used wisely. Here in Wisconsin, allowing Waukesha to divert water has set a bad precedent and will lead to more instances where arguments could be made allowing other areas to apply for a diversion. Waukesha’s misuse of water has already led to the state of Wisconsin putting the city of Waukesha on notice because drinking water tested positive for radium levels that were twice the legal limit. A recent deal was made between Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (where lead-tainted water is a serious concern) and Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly which led to the City of Milwaukee “selling” water to Waukesha. When lake water begins flowing west to Waukesha in 2022 or 2023, the city will stop using its 10 groundwater wells, including seven wells that draw radium-contaminated water from a deep sandstone aquifer. Waukesha will pay Milwaukee about $3.2 million in 2023 to deliver an average of 6.1 million gallons of lake water a day, as part of the deal. The payment will increase steadily to about $4.5 million a year at midcentury when Waukesha’s daily average demand is expected to rise to 8.2 million gallons a day; however, once the lake dries up, there’ll be nothing to profit from. Then along comes Foxconn, whose product, LCD screens, require vast amounts of water to manufacture, water that becomes tainted during production from exposure to toxic metals. The Great Lakes are a perfect (temporary) resource if your only aim is to profit. As stewards of our waterways, I ask Wisconsin to come together out of our mutual respect for the Great Lakes. We cannot allow the Great Lakes to be privatized and polluted. As Governor, I will veto such measures, and advocate for finding practical and safe alternatives for drinking water in the name of all that is sacred on this Earth.



Interview: “Fresh Water”. Caps For Sale Productions, Ltd., Madison, WI. 10/21/17.




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