Waukesha Water Wish Weaknesses
As I said several times on this blog - - example here - - expansionist ambitions (more square miles, residents, businesses, revenue) in the City of Waukesha's Great Lakes water diversion application - - enabled by regional planning commission (SEWRPC) approval of a City water service territory expanded by 80% - - will produce opponents ranging from rural preservationists in the Town of Waukesha, to urban development advocates in Milwaukee Common Council, to water-conservation managers and specialists in other Great Lakes states.
Waukesha needs the OK of all eight Great Lakes states under the 2008 Great Lakes Compact, a water management and conservation agreement, for diversion permission, followed by the signing of a water sales agreement with a supplier - - preferably the City of Milwaukee, before construction and opening the valves.
Waukesha has until June, 2018 to provide water on-demand to users that complies with federal quality standards.
The diversion application was approved by the Waukesha Common Council in early April, and submitted in June by the City to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources three months ago, but because of deficiencies yet to be cured, the DNR has not begun a formal review of the application.
Through this blog posting you can see maps of the City's expanded water service territory, and also how a new, $50 million north-south highway bypass to Waukesha's west and south will connect traffic to I-94 and and through some of the land in the City's expanded water service territory.
On the map below is the proposed new City water service territory. The current boundary is the squiggly blue line:
And little surprise that SEWRPC, given this service territory defining role by the state legislature as part of the Great Lakes Compact implementing law, finds nothing contradictory in this sprawl inducement into the Town of Waukesha and Genesee with a regional land use plan that purports to preserve open space and concentrate development close to urban centers.
Somewhat lost in the recent furor in the City of Waukesha over new City of Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima's skepticism over the application for Lake Michigan water was his acknowledgement that the expansion of City water services into the neighboring Town of Waukesha as called for by the application and SEWRPC was not necessarily what Town residents might want.
Food for thought.
As The Freeman reported:
"The whole push or argument for getting us on Great Lakes water is that the city is going to expand based on this projected water service (area),” Scrima said. “'We are basically asking for Great Lakes water because the city is going to grow to the southwest. We are essentially going to swallow up the town. I believe this is presumptuous and unrealistic. These people that live in the town, they moved out there for a reason.'”
That's what this is really all about--growth. The powers-that-be leveraged their short-term radium problem into a "need" for water volumes 2 and 3 times in excess of actual use. The sad part is that few Waukesha residents recognize this and they've bought the lie that is going to cost them and their children gobs of money--$164 million if you believe the Water Utility's figures. It's only a starting point, the way these things usually work. The Common Council and former Mayor Nelson are complicit in this dupe, as they never stopped to ask any of the hard questions or do anything other than tout the corporate line.
And the growth that $164 million and counting will enable? May never be seen due to economic and other factors. And will be paid for by current city taxpayers and never even seen by those who'll benefit: developers.
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