Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Water Politics, Fluid Situation

The announcement last week by the City of Waukesha that it intends to use Underwood Creek as its new wastewater discharge point on the back end of a Lake Michigan diversion scheme guarantees that water-based environmental concerns will be front-and-center in Southeastern Wisconsin throughout 2009.


Waukesha has to sell the idea to its taxpayers and water utility ratepayers.

Approval by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources must be forthcoming.

The seven other Great Lakes states have to approve the plan.

The City of Wauwatosa will no doubt be heard from, given that the river (well, creek) runs through it.

Then there are all the interests in the Menomonee Valley that have worked for years on development, pollution abatement and stormwater management there: is a higher, faster, wastewater-laden Underwood Creek emptying into the Menomonee Valley what the doctor ordered?

And then there is the water supply plan moving simultaneously through the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission - - a set of recommendations, surprise, surprise...that endorses a Lake Michigan diversion to Waukesha. Expect there to be significant public discussion of that set of recommendations and the narrow framework in which it was developed,

Not to mention the City of Milwaukee's 'true-value-of-water' consultant study. That should include measures by which a water sale to Waukesha should be crafted.

At all these stages of review and analysis, the public can get involved, with elected officials and policymakers listening attentively.

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