Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Great Lakes Dilemna

One of the last things that I wanted to do before exiting this Wisconsin series was bring to light an issue that has been spoken about for years.  It is a controversial one and one that I thought I'd share.  Growing up, I remember a discussion about creating a pipeline between the Great Lakes and states that had limited fresh water resources. It was a similiar discussion to that of the Colorado River servicing states like Arizona, Utah, and California.
The shocking part was the discovery that a pipeline actually does exist in Mantowoc.  At first, I had thought, "Did they do the unthinkable?" The answer was yes and no.  The pipeline directs water from the Manitowoc lakeshore to the bay of Green Bay.  Technically the water isn't going anywhere as it all stays in the same lake.  But I have to wonder, is this just the tip of the iceberg?  I'd hate to think what this would do ecologically to the Great Lakes region if they decided to go this route en masse.
While not a Tucson sunset, this is just as beautiful as it sets over the port of Manitowoc.   Water from the Great Lakes is considered "safer" than that of country water which has been contaminated with copper or mercury.  The following writing is from a really nice guy back at home.  I used to babysit his kids!  But here are the facts by Doug Day....
            "Six suburbs of Green Bay, Wis., are looking forward to another Midwest winter, because that’s when they expect to have a new, cleaner, and more reliable source of drinking water. By the end of 2006, a $106 million pipeline will transport water from Lake Michigan and the lakeshore city of Manitowoc along state and county highways, under picturesque rivers, through solid rock deposits, and up and down the scenic hills of the northeastern Wisconsin countryside to Brown County. When completed, the pipeline and associated distribution system will deliver 8 mgd from Manitowoc’s microfiltration water plant southeast of Green Bay. It will take about 65 miles of pipeline to cover the 30 miles and deliver the water to six communities, say members of the Central Brown County Water Authority. The communities lie along the north, south, and western borders of Green Bay. By 2030, it’s expected that about 12 million gallons a day will be pumped to customers in the fast-growing suburbs — one city, three villages and two towns. The authority may also build a 10-million-gallon storage reservoir sometime in the future to supplement individual communities’ storage capacity." End of article.  Source here.

Lighthouses dot the shores of the Lakeshore.
So what will that do to the city of Manitowoc?  What will it do to the lakeshore?  What are the consequences?  Are there any? So many questions.  I would imagine a study was done by the Wisconsn DNR.  I just hope that there aren't any negative repercussions to it all.
Growing up on Lake Michigan, I remember that some years the lake would rise and fall during others.  In fact, in the late 19th century, my old high school was built on water at all!  The lake slowly covered the dunes and today maintains those levels.
My question to you, "Should people be messing with Mother Nature?"  I can tell you the folks back home are mostly for this plan.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources does a great job keeping things in order(well minus the loads of paperwork that prevents Park Rangers from leaving their desks:)  What do you think?


  1. I think these pipelines are a disaster in the making. There is a pipeline near Yellowstone that is leaking and they can not locate the leak. So meantime the ground water is becoming poison. I know people think these pipelines are the greatest things on earth due to the money, jobs and so on. But why are they not concerned with their beautiful land, drinking water, wildlife and their future. Oil Poisoned land will not be worth a cent if it is contaminated. I am glad you posted this story, I wish people would wake up and not be so greedy.

  2. Sadly, most humans care about ME, and about the here and now. If they need water, they'll take it from any source available, the consequences be damned. The world is full of examples of the bad results of man fiddling with nature. Very nice post.

  3. well, with last year's drought here, and the continued worries of lake levels that supply water to municipal districts and their customers (of which I am one of them), i can identify with the worries of the impact to the shoreline and wildlife, but also can appreciate the need for good drinking water. we are still in dire straits here and until 2012 is well on its way, not sure if the water supplies will hold.

  4. I think we are all for whatever benefits us right now regardless of how much we talk about how we want politicians to do this and that for the future of our children and grandchildren. But the earth is changing and everything has always adapted in the past. I guess this is man's way of doing it.


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