Our Fresh Water: The Great Lakes

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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. Any community applying for a diversion must show that it has exhausted all available options for getting water; a diversion must be a last resort and be approved by all eight Great Lakes states. The two Canadian provinces bordering the lake provide input, and any Great Lakes state may veto the diversion application. The Compact requires each Great Lakes State and province to set up water management programs to ensure the water we have is used wisely. The decision by the Gubernatorial Council to permit Waukesha to divert water from Lake Michigan was a poor one. Allowing water to be diverted from these bodies should be avoided at all costs. The care and status of these waters affects all of Wisconsin, and it is time to analyze why this completely unprecedented decision was made, while looking for other approaches. As stewards of our waterways, I ask Wisconsin to come together; it is our mutual respect for the Great Lakes which stands at the forefront of non-partisanship.

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