I'm not sure why Waukesha residents are expressing surprise that their water rates would rise under what is called the cheapest of the alternatives for obtaining a new water supply - - $164 million, with the City of Milwaukee sending treated water from Lake Michigan through Waukesha's new pipeline and returning wastewater in Wauwatosa's Underwood Creek.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
As I said a couple of months ago, it could get expensive to live in Waukesha.
Yet the realization that nothing comes cheap these days was apparently the takeaway from a public session Thursday night in Waukesha on the subject: that the new supply and system, even if reduced in cost through hoped-for federal grants, will still require a hefty increase in rates.
In other words, the proposal raises a lot of questions and issues.
Current ratepayers might want to ask about the cost-effectiveness and per-capita expense of sending the water to the new 17+ square miles of service territory that the city intends to carve out to its west and south.
That is the same question that will ultimately be asked and answered in a broader context by the seven other Great Lakes states because all eight must approve Waukesha's diversion application.
And asked in a related way also by Milwaukee, should it choose to sell Lake Michigan water to Waukesha: is Waukesha's quest for Lake Michigan water in the best interests of the region's overall social justice, financial and natural environment- - that is, beyond the goals of Waukesha's major businesses and the County Chamber of Commerce?