Water And Costs: Big Issue In Michigan and Illinois; Obscured In Waukesha
Is Lake Huron a cost-effective solution for one Michigan community's new water supply?
Similar considerations in Illinois over a Lake Michigan supply: it's money, money, money.
For Waukesha? Well, the city says the estimated preliminary cost of what it says is the cheapest new supply alternative is $164 million - - but it's just an estimate, there might be some federal funding offsets, etc.
Regardless, it says Lake Michigan is the best and cheapest new supply option: all others are ruled out.
Or, not so fast, as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has told the city it has a lot more comparative analysis to do, with attention paid to water rates.
A suggestion: plug the money issue front-and-center into the Waukesha discussion, as often and in as much detail as possible.
On this point, credit should be given to Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima, who's been willing to take the heat for raising questions about the process by which the city's water utility and Common Council approved an application for Lake Michigan water, and the content of the application itself.
Scrima opened a July 23rd public letter on the subject with these opening and closing paragraphs. The bold-facing is in the original:
"A large number of Citizens have raised questions about the Lake Michigan option and remain unconvinced that it is either the best solution for Waukesha or least expensive option...
"Only by working together can we arrive at a solution which best allows us to live within our means, protect our environment and pocketbooks, and keep our identity and independence."
It's always about money. Not how it will be paid for, but how repaying the borrowed revenue will be repaid and by whom.
Money is the entire focus on this issue; not water shortages, not need, not radium, not conservation.
As you clearly pointed out Mr. Rowen, as did Mayor Scrima, Waukesha could be the showcase and world leader on innovation in solving any hyped up propaganda about future shortages and Milwaukee's water industries need not go to China for a world class model. Waukesha is the industry brochure.
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