About six months ago - - and even before fresh setbacks added more delay - - the plan seemed dead in the water, reported the Journal Sentinel's Don Behm on :
Waukesha - Time appears to have run out on Waukesha's landmark effort to obtain Lake Michigan water by a court-imposed deadline of June 2018 to provide residents with radium-safe drinking water.
June of next year is a "drop-dead" date, Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak says, to have in place all of the pieces the city needs - approval from Wisconsin and seven other Great Lakes states, a water purchase deal from Milwaukee or another city and a host of pipeline construction contracts - in order to have lake water flowing to Waukesha by the summer of 2018. Five years are needed to build the new system, he said.
If all of those hurdles are not cleared and work started by June 2013, Waukesha will have no choice but to select a different and more costly strategy for providing safe drinking water to its residents, Duchniak said, vowing an aggressive push for its lake water plan.
"We're optimistic we'll have a decision by next summer," Duchniak said.The setbacks since June have been a) the discussions that never took place as Waukesha had hoped for a lower-cost water purchase deal with Milwaukee, and b) the negotiations that stalled to nail down a more costly connection with Oak Creek.
And c) there is growing awareness that Waukesha wants to be able to divert Lake Michigan water to an expanded service territory beyond the city's boundaries.
Even if the Oak Creek-as-potential-diversion-supplier piece falls into place as scheduled on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, it seems impossible that all of Waukesha's remaining dominos: the Wisconsin DNR's approval; green lights by the other seven Great Lakes states, and signed piping and pumping contracting to construct a $183 million diversion system - - all litigation-free - - could be lined up to avoid Waukesha's self-declared "drop dead" date of June, 2013.
Consider, for example, that the DNR has yet to complete its environmental review of the diversion scheme and the application's water return-flow routing - - complicated and potentially controversial key steps that would need to be taken to the public for hearings before the application would be forwarded to the other states for their reviews.
Remember that a "no" vote by just one of the eight Great Lakes states' governors vetoes the application.
Get ready for a more local Plan "B," and a battle over aquifer access and water supplies in Waukesha County - - an intra-county controversy issue followed frequently on this blog since early 2007.
And as late as last month.