Saturday, November 22, 2008

Is Waukesha's Water Plan An Environmental Hit?

There are claims that Waukesha's water diversion scheme is a hit with environmentalists, but is that correct?

Maybe some environmental leaders and activists can weigh in with comments.

I have had an unusual schedule the last few weeks, missed the meeting that Waukesha officials had with some environmental organizations' representatives, and would like to know what the reaction and feedback have been.

Guest post opportunities are available.

Monday update:

Note the arrival of three comments from writers in Wauwatosa, Waukesha and I believe from Racine that express reservations about the Waukesha return flow regime.

An admonition, as we move forward towards a Waukesha diversion application that will finally disclose just what and where and why Waukesha is planning on doing what it intends:

Former Milwaukee Mayor John O. Norquist used to say there were two stages to every transportation plan, and the formula applies to this water scheme as well.

Stage One: It's too soon to know.

Stage Two: It's too late to do anything about it.

So every time you hear stage one echoing from Waukesha, or the Wisconsin DNR, just remember that stage two is right around the corner.

The goal is to be prepared.


Anonymous said...

Green Racine will fight this as long as possible.
We are will to do Civil Disobedience we will fight them in the courts, we will fight in the world of public opinion, we will fight and never give up.
Waukesha does not get one drop of Lake Michigan!

Jim Bouman said...

The important thing is to get real information on the costs and project the costs beyond mere construction. Is this a viable economic project for the tax- and rate-payers of Waukesha?

The water utility have chosen 22 or 24 million gallons a day (MGD) as the amount of water they wish to buy. Waukesha presently uses 8 MGD. I would guess this exotic margin for growth is necessary to make reasonable calculations of the costs of infrastructure and delivery as well as return of the new water to Lake Michigan.

Growth is--at last--stagnant; half-finished subdivisions litter the exurban landscape. Existing homes and condominiums are simply unsalable at current inflated prices and to buyers with no down payment. It is likely there will be a contraction of the aggregate tax base in next year's re-assessment of real property in the City of Waukesha.

Nothing I have seen indicates that they have plugged in the cost of expansion and increased operating costs for the sewage treatment plant.

The MJS editorial page bunch-- particularly their You-Get-What-You-Pay-For team of unpaid "community columnists"--are so desperate they can only see legions of new suburbanites moving to Waukesha and becoming subscribers to the pitiful remnant of a once-passable daily. newspaper.

Anonymous said...

We are only at the beginning of this discussion. There are plenty of questions around the issue of need - Does the Lake Michigan option make the best sense for Waukesha? What are the true costs of cleaning the groundwater better, or recycling water as is done in many parts of the country, and the world. Has a sensitivity analysis been done regarding the energy costs of transporting water in the two directions? And more...

But the word on the street, the gym, the church, etc., in Wauwatosa is "No Way do we want Waukesha's toilet water in our river." Even if the effluent generally meets permit standards, there are plenty of contaminants in the returned water that are not regulated (medications, viruses, hormones, etc.) And there has been absolutely no discussion yet about whether Waukesha's proposal to keep water in the Fox drainage during rain events is even legal under the Great Lakes Compact - certainly it violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.

James Rowen said...

Thank you, Colt, Jim and Lynn. From different communities, similar sentiments.

Neither of you will be surprised if I say that a huge head of steam is generating behind the Waukesha plan, preliminary as it is.

Waukesha has spent heavily on consultants, lawyers, lobbyists and others to bring the return flow option this far forward.

I am sure this has been done with the approval of the DNR, so there are substantial forces at work that will be hard to turn around.

Anonymous said...

Green Racine is ready to go to the wall. We may be small but we are feisty and our favoret film is the 300.
Green Racine = Spartans
Waukesha = Evil beyond thought

And Mr Rowan your welcome

Forewarned is Forearmed