Some of the water required to fuel our technology addictions will soon be siphoned off of Lake Michigan.
Last summer, Taiwan tech giant Foxconn announced plans to build a $10 billion, 20,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in rural Wisconsin to manufacture LCD screens. On Wednesday, the state Department of Natural Resources approved a request by the surrounding township to divert 7 million gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan to the area, mostly to be used by the plant.
Environmental experts have criticized the diversion. Though, as the DNR points out, it amounts to less than a 1 percent increase in the total surface water withdrawals from Lake Michigan, it would result in a loss of 2.7 million gallons per day, mostly due to evaporation (the rest of the water will be treated and then returned to the lake basin). Environmentalists are also concerned that the decision will set a new precedent allowing the fresh water to be used for predominantly commercial purposes, instead of as drinking water.