Wisconsin officials in 2010 quietly approved a massive new allotment of water from Lake Michigan to fast-growing Pleasant Prairie in Kenosha County without extensive public reviews required in other Great Lakes water diversions in recent years.
The action in the final year of Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle’s administration, gave the bustling community on the Illinois border the right to tap millions of gallons more water a day in the years and decades to come.
The water will go to areas of the village, such as those along the I-94 corridor, that lie outside the Lake Michigan basin and long have struggled with radium and diminishing groundwater supplies.
A bigger supply of water for Pleasant Prairie flew under the radar for years.
Now, the state Department of Natural Resources’ decision is raising questions of transparency and could prompt legal scrutiny.
The details are highlighted in an updated book, “The Great Lakes Water Wars,” by journalist Peter Annin, who writes of the growing tensions over water use in and around the basin of the lakes — especially in Wisconsin in recent years.
The official re-release of the book is Oct. 3 to mark the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Great Lakes Compact — the landmark 2008 law that bans water diversions outside the basin in most cases. To read the entire story.