This June, 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.
On January 6th and 7th of 2017, IJNR will host a two-day workshop in Waukesha to see how the city will get water from Lake Michigan, treat it and send it back to the basin while also discussing its bigger picture impacts. Participating journalists will tour water plants; talk with state agencies, elected officials, water authorities and concerned organizations; and discuss what the Waukesha decision may mean for future water requests.