Waukesha Great Lakes Diversion Opposed by Oakville Town Council

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Waukesha Great Lakes Diversion Opposed by Oakville Town Council

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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is the Town and Regional Councillor for Ward 1. He was elected to Oakville's town council in October 2014. Sean lives with his wife and family in Bronte.

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On August 22, 2016 the Town of Oakville passed a resolution opposing the diversion of over 30 million litres of water a day from the Great Lakes to the municipality of Waukesha in Wisconsin. This was the first application for the diversion from a jurisdiction that does not bound the watershed.

The Region of Halton is a member of the over 120 municipalities that make up the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative concerned with the protection and responsible management of the Great Lakes Basin.

The Cities Initiative has begun legal proceedings to appeal the decision made by the 8 States bordering the Great Lakes Basin and I’m proud that both Oakville and the Region of Halton are bringing their concerns forward individually and collectively. Below please find a copy of the resolution passed at Oakville Council. If you would like any further information please contact me on how you can get involved.

Opposition to the Waukesha Water Diversion Application
Moved by Councilor O’Meara, Seconded by Councilor Elgar as introduced at the July 25, 2016 Council Meeting.

WHEREAS the Great Lakes Basin contains approximately 20 percent of the world’s fresh water, 40 million people use the basin for potable water daily and a quarter of Canada’s agriculture industry relies on it;

WHEREAS the Town of Oakville (the “Town”) is located along the border of Lake Ontario and has proven itself a strong environmental steward of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin through initiatives including its Environmental Strategic Plan, Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Livable Oakville;

WHEREAS on December 13, 2005 the Governors of the eight Great Lakes states, Ontario and Quebec signed the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement (the “Agreement”) and the Governors endorsed the companion Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (the “Compact”) which was later approved by the United States Congress and signed by the President, banning new water diversions from the Basin except in communities located in counties straddling the water division line between the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin and other basins;

WHEREAS the City of Waukesha, WI, is the first community to submit an application to divert water from Lake Michigan for use as its source of drinking water (the “Application”), made pursuant to the Agreement and Compact;

WHEREAS concerns have been expressed by many organizations and government organizations within the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin, including the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, that the Waukesha Application does not meet the terms of either the Agreement or the Compact and that this may set a precedent for future diversions;

WHEREAS on June 21, 2016 a panel representing governors of the eight states adjoining the Great Lakes unanimously approved a proposal from Waukesha, WI to draw roughly 30 million litres a day from Lake Michigan and use it outside the Great Lakes Basin;

WHEREAS the International Joint Commission has determined that there is no “surplus” water in the Great Lakes;

WHEREAS the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (the “Cities Initiative”) passed a resolution opposing the Waukesha Application (Resolution 2016-1B), attached as Appendix 1; and

WHEREAS, Halton Region is a member of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) representing municipalities along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence in Canada and the United States;

THEREFORE be it resolved that Council:

  1. Object to this specific diversion for Waukesha, WI to divert over thirty million litres daily and oppose the diversion of any water outside of the Great Lakes Basin area outside of the terms of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Water Resources Compact;
  2. That Council endorse the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative’s position on the diversion of water from the Great Lakes Basin and that; and
  3. Council raise this issue by way of copying this resolution to: Halton Regional Council members; local members of provincial parliament; local members of federal parliament; the Provincial Minister of Energy and Climate Change; the Provincial Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry; the Federal Minister of Natural Resources and; the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
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