January 5 + 6, 2017
In June of 2016, Waukesha, Wisconsin, became the first U.S. city outside of the Great Lakes watershed to receive permission to withdraw water under the Great Lakes Compact - a 2008 law that gives states bordering the lakes control over water diversions. While all eight Great Lakes state governors approved Waukesha's request, the city's 13-year-long saga wasn't without controversy. While some see the Compact doing its job and forcing concessions while still offering clean, reliable water to a community in need, others see the Waukesha approval as a slippery slope toward other thirsty cities getting to take a drink.
IJNR brought a group of journalists to Waukesha on in January 2017 to see how the city will get water from Lake Michigan, treat it and send it back to the basin , and also to discuss some of the bigger-picture impacts. Participating journalists toured water plants; talked with state agencies, elected officials, water authorities and concerned organizations; and discussed what the Waukesha decision may mean for future water requests.