Friday, August 28, 2009

SEWRPC Selects UWM Center For Economic Development As Water Study Consultant

Having bowed to pressure from its Environmental Justice Task Force (EJTF) earlier this year, SEWRPC has followed through on a commitment to broaden the scope and independence of its studies by adding a socio-economic analysis to its pending water supply study and selected the UW-M Center for Economic Development to carry it out.

The water study concluded that diverting water from Lake Michigan to Waukesha and several other communities both inside and beyond the Great Lakes basin was in the best interest of the region and the environment, but the EJTF and others said the study was insufficient because potential socio-economic impacts - - housing, transportation and development, for instance - - were not included in the study.

It is still unclear how SEWRPC will fold the UW-M consultant findings and conclusions into a study that began in 2005 and that SEWRPC, until its EJTF complained, considered essentially complete and ready for comment and final approval.

The consultant selection should get a positive reaction from the EJTF, which pushed hard for a socio-economic study by an independent and outside consultant.

It is also inclear how a new data a set of findings and conclusions could affect Waukesha's application for the diversion, since it if chooses to buy water through the City of Milwaukee, Waukesha would have to meet a long list of socio-economic requirements as a condition of sale, according to Milwaukee official city policy.

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