Monday, March 29, 2010

Tidbits From Today's M-7 Water Council Confab

The seven-county regional public-private coalition known as M-7 and its Water Council put on a program this morning at UW-Parkside on how best to use water and Lake Michigan to maximize the region's growth, job retention and overall competitiveness.

The program was at the request of the Sustainable Water Supply Coalition, a business group dedicated to regional economic development that also supports the Lake Michigan diversion plan being put forward by the City of Waukesha.

From my perspective, this was the meeting highlight:

"We believe that growth should pay for growth."

The speaker: William Mielke, the region's leading land use and water management specialist.

Mielke was referring to $3,000+ per-new-house impact fees; his firm also wrote a regional cost-sharing plan for several Racine County communities' water treatment needs - - a plan that has been mentioned as a model for the way Milwaukee and Waukesha could compute and share development growth if Milwaukee were to sell diverted Lake Michigan water to Waukesha.

Remember that Waukesha plans, if it receives permission for the diversion, to expand its water delivery service territory by 80% to its south and west. Here is a map.

Mielke's firm, Ruekert & Mielke, served as lead consultant to the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission's five-year-long and not-yet-completed water supply study - - which has preliminarily recommended sending Lake Michigan water to Waukesha and several other communities.

His firm also co-authored Waukesha's 2002 long-range comprehensive water supply plan - - with a recommendation for a Lake Michigan diversion - - and also wrote New Berlin's diversion application, too.

Milwaukee officials should dust-off the Racine water treatment cost-sharing plan to familiarize themselves with the model.

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