Monday, June 7, 2010

Sharing Great Lakes Water Through Waukesha Diversion: Should Those Communities Have Approved The Application?

It's referred to as the City of Waukesha's application for a Great Lakes diversion, but the proposed water delivery service territory into which the water is headed also includes portions of three other communities, according to this April 14th, 2010 email response to me from Daniel Duchniak, General Manager of the Waukesha Water Utility:

"We would be providing water to parts of the Town of Waukesha and parts of the City of Pewaukee, as was outlined in our border agreement with them some years ago. Also, at the request of the DNR, we would be providing service to Genesee. This is due to failing septic systems and poor shallow water quality due to those failing systems."

So here are some questions:

Should these other communities have also approved the application?

Should their residents be given the chance to debate it? Ask Waukesha officials questions about it? Publicly?

Note that a separate plan by the City of Waukesha to annex land in the Town of Waukesha for a a new round of shallow wells already sparked a recall of Town of Waukesha board members, so water supply issues between and among Waukesha County neighbors are closely-followed.

And given the plan to distribute water into portions of these three municipalities, is this sentence from the application accurate:

"A Lake Michigan supply for the City is sustainable, protective of public health, and results in more effective management, and improvement, of the waters and water dependent natural resources of the Great Lakes Basin."

Are we talking about a supply for the City, or a regional supply for and from the City - - with potential political and economic ramifications for growth and costs in a multi-municipality area?

Additionally, should those communities have a say in which city - - Oak Creek, Racine or Milwaukee - - the City of Waukesha would select if the application receives diversion approvals from all eight Great Lakes states?

It may be that those additional communities like the plan, in which case a vote by their governing bodies should be easy to obtain.

Unless some residents do not want to be hooked up.

But is anyone going to ask them?


Anonymous said...

Couple of things, James:
I believe the water service area defined by the water boundries established by SEWRPC also include part of the Town of Vernon.

None of these communities have a voting right concerning any decision by the Waukesha Common Council about which water plan they chose to implement. SEWRPC defines the boundries, the Waukesha Water Utility proposes the plan to the DNR, all customers defined in the water service area pay. There is no representation on any issue because it's not a tax, it's a fee. Furthermore, just like MMSD, I expect that rates for the infrastructure will be based on property values.

James Rowen said...

Thanks for the heads-up. All I know is what the Waukesha Water Utility told me.

As to the other communities weighing in on the application; I am still not sure.

Maybe a lawyer famiiiar with the Compact can offer an opinion.