Friday, September 28, 2007

Waukesha Water Grab Could Dry Up Portions of Vernon Marsh, Expert Says

When the City of Waukesha announced it planned to acquire acreage in the neighboring Town of Waukesha at the edge of the Vernon Marsh to sink some new wells, area residents and Town officials worried that pulling out water for export to the City would damage the Marsh.

The Town hired University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee hydrology professor Douglas Cherkauer, and in a report submitted to the Town, but undercovered by most major regional media, indeed found that the plan could dry up portions of the Marsh.

The Freeman, Waukesha's daily paper, did run a story, (some excerpts below that online coding has made editing and pasting difficult. Best to read the entire story at the link.)

“Within a year, drawdowns could be as much as 10 feet under the river and marsh. After 15 years, drawdowns could range from 20 to 25 feet at the nearest private wells, and from 33 to 38 feet at the river and marsh,” the report states."
The report, said the Freeman, went on to say:
“This indicates a very real probability that there will be significant impacts to private wells and northern portions of the Vernon Marsh complex, which need to be fully assessed before the project begins.”
Continuing, the Freeman said: "Cherkauer’s report notes that at the marsh, “areas where water levels drop could literally dry up, ceasing to function as a wetland.”

It's hard to imagine that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources would allow the wells to created, given Cherkauer's expertise and standing in the scientific community.

And the newly-formed Friends of the Vernon Marsh could easily organize substantial opposition in both the City and the Town, further diminishing the chances that new, high-capacity municipal wells would ever be sunk where the Waukesha Water Utility wants to locate them.

The City of Waukesha could seize the moment and address its future water needs with greater conservation, but it is more likely to continue with its modest sprinkling water regulations and rate tinkering while it pursues what it really wants:

A diversion from Lake Michigan.


Anonymous said...

Oh, who cares? Let them drink the poison water and die. The fewer of them that live, the less water they will need.

Good job.

James Rowen said...

I struggled with whether to post this comment. But in the interest of free speech, I let it through.