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.
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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (414) 847-0990 ext. 104.
- Catherine’s contact information is email@example.com 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 http://www4.uwm.edu/ced/sewrpc/index.cfm
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 http://www.sewrpc.org/watersupplystudy/pdfs/pr-052_chapter-09_preliminary_draft.pdf