Friday, January 25, 2013

Town Of Waukesha Accepts Limited Inclusion Into City Diversion Application

[Revised at 11:00 a.m.] The Town of Waukesha voted at its Thursday night/early Friday a.m.  meeting to allow the inclusion of defined, mapped portions of the Town in the City of Waukesha's application for a diversion of Lake Michigan water.

The Town Board action basically matches up its water and sewer service maps with the city's, which is what the DNR and regional planning commission have sought.

The Town vote removes a barrier to the City's completion of a Great Lakes water diversion application now in the hands of the DNR, and is said to offer protections for the integrity of the Vernon Marsh, where City wells could influence water levels, and also provides other protections and clarity to the Town against some potential City annexations.

The key point is that the Town and City will agree on which limited, mapped and designated areas will be included in the application as potential recipients of diverted water.

Though including mapped portions of the Town into the City's application underscores the City's intent to send some diverted water outside of its borders - - setting up a possible barrier to the application's approval by the other seven Great Lakes states.

All eight states must approve a diversion of water outside of the boundaries of the Great Lakes, and both the City and Town of Waukesha are outside of the Great Lakes basin.


Anonymous said...

Could you double check on this James? The Freeman headline today states, with their Chairwomen's quote below headline:

"Town of Waukesha will not participate in city’s water app"
Van Scyoc: ‘We have plenty of water’

Could you tell us what you believe this means for the application.

Anonymous said...

Here is the text of the Freeman article which seems as though it will create more hurdles for the city.

By Dave Fidlin

Special to The Freeman

TOWN OF WAUKESHA – The Town Board continued to wrangle over a number of issues at its regular meeting Thursday, with emotions and contention running high at times during the three-and-ahalf hour session.

But one agenda item that brought the board into unison was a decision not to participate in the city of Waukesha’s quest for water through Lake Michigan.

The Town Board voted not to participate in the Great Lakes water application process, a pivotal move that will likely solidify boundaries between the town and city moving forward. But the board also voted on a map that would allow town residents, many of whom currently receive water and sewer service from the city, continued access to the city’s services.

“This is a significant issue to us,” said Town Chairwoman Angie E. Van Scyoc, who asserted private wells continue to serve the majority of town residents sufficiently. “We don’t need Lake Michigan water. We have plenty of water in our aquifer.”

In a Jan. 2 letter to the town, City Administrator Ed Henschel agreed with the assertion that the town’s absence in the application process would likely result in fixed boundaries. But he further stated that such a scenario would have another result.

“Should the town need water and/or sewer service in the future as a result of growth, contamination, dropping water tables or other emergency, the city would be prohibited from providing water and/or sewer service to the town and its residents,” Henschel wrote in the letter.

His letter further stated that “the city believes that the prudent public policy would be for the town to be a participant in the water application ... but the city will proceed with its request for Great Lakes water, regardless of the town’s decision on this matter.”

Areas of the town that would be included in the city’s plans, if the application is approved, include properties along Arcadian Avenue, Greenfield Avenue and Sunset Drive. Van Scyoc said inclusion in the city’s application does not mean the properties are on pace for annexation into the city.

The board has held a number of closed-session meetings on the water issue, and Supervisor Brian Fischer said there was no consensus on the firm boundaries for the inclusion in the city’s plan.

“Everyone has their own idea of what it should like,” Supervisor Joe Banske added.

Van Scyoc said not all discussions with the city were collaborative, and she expressed disappointment in the process.

“I think (the city) could’ve worked with us to some degree,” she said. “We will have to figure out how best to navigate the course.”

In other business Thursday, the board:

James Rowen said...

My understanding is that portions of the Town are in. Not the entire Town, which is what I think the Freeman means.

James Rowen said...

The Freeman is going to have correct its reporting, beginning with graph #3. See this Journal Sentinel account - - - which matches mine.

Anonymous said...

That is the way I understood it as well but isn't the majority of the Town service area now eliminated from the application?

Isn't the large town area south of 59 the area that Waukesha was depending upon for the anticipated water growth and future needs?

Without this large portion of the town service area, won't SEWRPC have to redraw the boundary for water service? Won't the future demand for the city also need to be recalculated at a much lower usage? Won't Waukesha have to edit the application to show the area in question and new water demand based on this smaller area?

Seems to me that this vote by the town does more harm than good to the city's application going forward.

Am I reading this wrong?

James Rowen said...

Well, the DNR said the map couldn't be redrawn when Milwaukee wanted it redrawn, so what's it going to do now?

And yes, I think the City will have to recalibrate the amount of water it needs, or the DNR will do it for the City.

Joe Banske said...

Hello James
We included very small portions of the Town of Waukesha in the Water Service Area. It has been reported prior that the Sewer Service Area will be redrawn to match the formal Water Service Area so that the two will match.
The City had originally allocated over 1MGD of water per day to the town but very recently, and prior to our meeting, they had reduced that amount to .55MGD certainly this is an amount that could not meet the demands of an area equal to the entire town. I appreciate your efforts to accurately report this information to your readers

Anonymous said...

.55MGD is a substantial amount.

What percentage of that amount is for future growth?

How much is intended for residential?

Is the Town conceding these area for annexation?

Boxer said...

@Anonymous 1/27/13, 6:33 am and Joe Banske:

The Town is most definitely NOT conceding the areas for annexation, but by rejecting inclusion in the water service area for most of the lands currently within Town borders, is trying to permanently protect its borders. (Lands not included in the water service area will be nearly impossible to annex, as those areas outside will not be able to request Lake Michigan water if the City is successful in its application.)

The other questions you ask are harder to answer, given that the water utility has not given a direct answer and seems to purposely confuse understanding by tossing around numbers such as 1 million or .55 million per day with no context or reference. The utility continues to avoid questions about its formulas for estimating population growth or water use even as average daily use continues to decline.

What we get instead is a fuzzy formula, calculated with fuzzy math and based on fuzzy assumptions. Result: fuzz.

This missing information may be one of the many problems holding up Waukesha's application. It certainly must be provided before the application is prime-time ready for the other Great Lakes states' review, and should be clearly understood by the public.