Waukesha Supplies To The DNR New Data, Old Justifications, About Lake Michigan Water
The City of Waukesha Water Utility has sent the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources materials the DNR asked for last year to repair deficiencies in the city's application for a Lake Michigan diversion, according to a Waukesha Water Utility news release.
I have not seen the full documentation, though the utility says the extensive information it sent to the DNR will be posted by the end of the week on the water utility's website.
The news release rand supporting materials - - see below - - affirms the application's belief that the Lake Michigan option is the cheapest and best for the environment.
[The full document to be provided later is about 1,000 pages. Here is a link to a pdf of a summary of what the utility says it has sent to the DNR. Whether it addresses all 49 DNR questions referenced in a December 3nd letter to Waukesha Council president Paul Yberra on the DNR website, here) is unknown, though last week Waukesha indicated that there is at least one major item not yet resolved - - whether the Town of Waukesha remains in the application's new water service map. That issue is central to how much water the City wants to divert, and where it might be sent.]
Interesting elements at first glance:
* An agreement has been reached with the City of Brookfield to discharge treated diverted water from Waukesha for a return to Lake Michigan on Brookfield land near Underwood Creek.
* An increased commitment to water conservation, though I do not know it that reduces the amount of diverted water sought. The application seeks an average daily draw of 10.9 million gallons to a maximum of 18,5 million gallons daily.
It will be interesting to see the new info, and especially whether they included any additional information on alternative return flow locations. Even though Brookfield gave them permission for the Underwood Creek return flow option (e.g. outfall), the letter states that they must who a return flow option for each proposed water supply alternative that is "close as practicable to the place at which water is withdrawn" along with designs of said outfalls and associated hydrologic/hydraulic models and biological information of impacts of that return flow on receiving water streams. It goes on to say that Waukesha has not demonstrated "that it is not economically feasible, not environmentally sound, or not in the interest of public health to return the water to Lake Michigan as close as practicable to the withdrawal site." That is information that needs to be supplied to DNR and to the public. They can't just continue to analyze only one option for return flow. Given that they are emphasizing the Brookfield angle, I wonder if they still don't get it? I guess we will find out when the public gets a look at the documents---normally after the press carries the story.
"WSI. Document the public participation process conducted for the proposed water supply service area plan. Also, you'll need to provide evidence that the governing bodies ofthe towns of Waukesha, Genesee, and any other city, village or town addressed by the plan have approved the Water Supply Service Area Plan prior to resubmittal."
The application to divert water outside the Lake Michigan and send it to-and-from Waukesha is continuing through the political process and I must state my concern for this before it is irreversible.
Environmentally, this is a dangerous precedent to set.
The City of Waukesha has developed wetlands which once supported their aquifer and their growth rate cannot be supported with just one diversion limitation-- This will be a progressive, and irreversible trend.
The economic implications of this will degrade the City of Milwaukee and promote the sprawl of the affluent suburbs allowing them to continue unsustainable growth. The economic reasoning is that Milwaukee will receive money for this water. That implies that the priorities are not for the health of the Great Lakes but that this decision is based on short-term local economies.
If allowed here, in Wisconsin, it will become too easy a process, more loopholes will be found, and the integrity of the Compact to protect this resource will be diluted.
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