Freshwater Weekly 9/7/17

Posted on September 7, 2017 by

This week: an update on the Waukesha diversion + Wisconsin’s Foxconn deal advances + innovations solutions for Lake Erie + ways you can make a difference.


Last year, hundreds of Freshwater Future supporters like you spoke out against a proposal to divert water from Lake Michigan to supply the community of Waukesha, Wisconsin. Under the 2008 Great Lakes Compact, water cannot be diverted outside the Great Lakes basin, except when communities that straddle the Great Lakes and Mississippi River drainage basins meet a set of strict criteria.

The Waukesha diversion was unanimously approved by the Compact Council of Great Lakes governors in June 2016. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative—a collective of 131 Canadian and American mayors in the Great Lakes region—mounted a legal challenge to the decision, but has recently dropped that challenge in exchange for an agreement to strengthen the review process for future applications.

This was the final legal hurdle to be cleared before the Waukesha diversion moves forward. We’ll keep you updated as Waukesha implements the conditions placed on it by the council, and as details of the new application review process are released.


Wisconsin’s proposed deal with Foxconn—maker of iPhones and electric components—cleared the Senate budget committee on Tuesday and is expected to be passed by the Senate. The would roll back decades of hard-won environmental protections and funnel $3 billion of taxpayer money to a plant likely to use upwards of 10 million gallons of Great Lakes water a day.

Learn more about why this deal is bad for Wisconsin, bad for the Great Lakes, and bad for the environment—as well as what Wisconsinites can do about it—on our blog.


The 3rd annual Aquahacking Summit will get underway next week in Waterloo, Ontario. A celebration of water and of Lake Erie, the event brings together water experts and members of the tech community to develop innovative, actionable solutions to water-related issues.

It starts with a hacking challenge—students, hackers, and engineers pitch their ideas and the finalists make it to the Summit. The Summit is a 3-day conference that includes a youth delegation, speakers, panelists, discussion sessions, and the selection of the 2017 Challenge winners.  

All are welcome, with a special invitation to environmental groups and students. With algae being such a concern for Lake Erie, our own Jill Ryan, Executive Director, will speak about how the issue is being addressed by communities around Lake Erie. Learn more and register for AquaHacking 2017!


There are lots of simple ways to help protect our waters. Find more at


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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.