Friday, February 5, 2010

Attend, Participate; Focus Group Meetings On Regional Water Supply Plan

It's a rare opportunity, believe me: the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission has basically been forced by social justice advocates to consider the implications of transferring Lake Michigan water to Waukesha and other communities.

SEWRPC has contacted with UWM social scientists to study these issues, and that has produced a series of public,, open and free focus group meetings to take your input for the overall study's final recommendations.

Below is a discussion of the matter, with the focus group schedule, which is convenient and broad.

If you don't attend one of these sessions, then please don't gripe down the road when a water deal is struck, the terms are lousy - - except for Waukesha developers - - and in the pipeline with the water from Milwaukee are jobs, capital and growth.

So examine this information, get yourself to a meeting, bring friends and circulate the schedule to your networks.

Text and Schedule:

Focus Groups and SWOT Analysis for Socio-Economic Impact Analysis for SEWRPCs Preliminary Regional Water Supply Plan

The Center for Economic Development (CED) and Prism Technical Management & Marketing Services (Prism) are conducting a socio-economic impact analysis for SEWRPC’s preliminary Regional Water Supply Plan, in order to determine if the plan could have any negative impacts on the peoples of Southeastern Wisconsin, as well as identify any positive impacts the recommendations may have.

The objective of the Regional Water Supply Planning Program is to set forth a sound and workable plan for the provision and protection of long term sustainable sources of water for the region in a manner which best meets the plan objectives.

As part of the socio-economic impact analysis, CED and Prism need to gather input from the public to determine if the recommendations set forth by SEWRPC under the Preliminary Regional Water Supply Plan (RWSP) could have any negative or positive impact on people within the seven county Region.

The RWSP sets forth six recommendations:

  • Sources of Water Supply

The RWSP recommendations include provisions for 27 utilities to remain on a Lake Michigan supply and for 42 utilities to remain on groundwater supplies. The recommendations also provide for the conversion of nine utility systems from groundwater supply to Lake Michigan supply and the development of two new areas with a Lake Michigan supply. Based on the preliminary findings by the CED, the conversion of the nine areas to a Lake Michigan supply will most likely not alter what development activity is likely to occur in those nine areas if those areas remain supplied by groundwater. The conversion to Lake Michigan water was recommended to enhance further recovery of the deep aquifer water levels, better maintain surface water baseflows, and reduce chloride discharges from water softeners to the surface waters. It also contributes to preservation of the groundwater supplies for other uses, such as agriculture, and makes more efficient use of existing Lake Michigan water treatment facilities with substantial existing excess capacity.

  • Water Conservation Programming

The recommendations regarding water conservation programming in the RWSP are two-fold in their design; first, they were developed to increase water system efficiency which reduces the amount of water pumped to meet customer demands, and second, to reduce the amount of water used by customers. The RWSP includes a range of recommendations for water conservation programming, depending on the infrastructure needs of each water utility and the source of supply.

  • Recharge Area Protection

Protecting groundwater recharge areas is considered important for ensuring an abundant and safe groundwater supply. Currently, there are no regulatory constraints regarding development in (high or very high) groundwater recharge areas. The RWSP recommends that important groundwater recharge and discharge areas should be identified for preservation or for application of land development plans and practices that protect groundwater quality and maintain the natural surface and groundwater hydrology.

  • Stormwater Management Practices

Stormwater management practices encourage groundwater treatment and infiltration (recharge) in order to best maintain the natural hydrology between surface waters and groundwaters, and therefore, to contribute to a sustainable groundwater supply. The RWSP recommends following stormwater best management practices for all new residential and for selected nonresidential developments.

  • High Capacity Well Regulation

Currently, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources provides certain siting regulations for high capacity wells. The RWSP provides guidance regarding the additional siting requirements of all new high capacity wells and for monitoring the impacts that such wells may have on the aquifers. The RWSP recommendations for improving high capacity well regulations are based on improving methods to safeguard the quantity and quality of the groundwater supply, and for insuring that groundwater extraction will not have a negative impact on nearby surface waters through baseflow depletion.

  • Enhanced Rainfall Infiltration Systems

Enhanced rainfall infiltration systems are artificial methods to recharge groundwater. The RWSP recommends the use of enhanced rainfall infiltration systems in conjunction with the siting of shallow aquifer high capacity wells.

Participation in the focus group will include clarification of and a brief discussion on the recommendations set forth in the RWSP, and participation in a SWOT Analysis to identify any Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats that the recommendations may have on populations within Southeastern Wisconsin.

  • Strengths: attributes of the plan or recommendations that are helpful to achieving the objective.
  • Weaknesses: attributes of the plan that are harmful to achieving the objective.
  • Opportunities: external conditions that are helpful to achieving the objective.
  • Threats: external conditions which could do damage to the objective.

The focus group meetings are scheduled as follows:

Monday 2/8 1:30pm Early Afternoon meeting (1:30pm)

Waukesha County Administration Building

515 W. Moreland Blvd Room AC 255

Waukesha WI

Wednesday 2/10 4:30 PM Early Evening Meeting (4:30 PM) NEW SITE/TIME

Washington Park Library on Sherman Blvd

2121 North Sherman Boulevard

Milwaukee, WI

Thursday 2/11 1:30 PM Early Afternoon meeting (1:30 pm) Parking passes provided by UWM

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Union - Room 181

2200 E. Kenwood Blvd

Milwaukee WI

Please contact Randy Crump at Prism or Catherine Madison at CED if you would like to participate in one of the focus groups or if you have any questions.

  • Randy’s contact information is or (414) 847-0990 ext. 104.

  • Catherine’s contact information is or (414) 229-6155.

More information regarding the Socio-Economic Impact Analysis for the Regional Water Supply Plan can be found on the CED Website at

More information regarding the recommendations set forth in the preliminary draft of the Regional Water Supply Plan can be found on the SEWRPC Website at


Unknown said...

Thanks for keeping us updated on this issue James. It is so important. Please stay informed about urban ag in Milwaukee at or connect with Transition Milwaukee for sustainability developments. All the best ~gretchen mead

SocratesChildren said...

If you participate in one of the focus groups, please remember that the County of Milwaukee is waiting on the State for RTA legislation that is essential for Milwaukee's future.

Water should be conditioned on the passage of SE Wisconsin RA legislation so Milwaukee can best govern itself and pay for transit. SEWRPC itself has stated many times in the past years how essential transit is to Milwaukee's future. We must remind SEWRPC not to fail Milwaukee now.

RTA is not a State handout; it is legislation to allow municipal and County entities to build modern public transportation, the current failing of which has been greatly responsible for the sprawl Waukesha now finds beyond its means to support alone.

We can work together as a region; but only if Milwaukee is an equal partner.