Is The Waukesha Water Proposal A City Expansion And Regional Diversion Plan?
Is the City of Waukesha's application for permission to pipe in Lake Michigan water an effort to offer a new and improved water supply to its residents, or is it a plan to bring water to a larger region, stimulate growth there and also extend the City's presence outside its current borders - - and if it's both, will all eight Great Lakes governors agree to it?
The City of Waukesha is seeking to divert under the rubric of the Great Lakes Compact an average of 10.9 million gallons daily (up to 70% more during drought or emergencies) from Lake Michigan - - not just for its own needs, but also to serve portions of the City of Pewaukee and the Towns of Genesee and Waukesha.
A subject I've written about before.
Those additional, bordering municipalities are not separate applicants. They were included in a regional planning commission service territory map and wrapped into the City of Waukesha's diversion application by fiat, though recently Genesee has agreed to be part of the process.
Significantly, the Town of Waukesha has not.
Now that the Department of Natural Resources has completed a round of hearings on what should included in the scope of its pivotal review of the application - - with an eye towards an eventual review and approval under the Compact by all eight Great Lakes governors - - I again raise these points about the scope of the application itself:
* If the additional municipalities were not part of the City's application, what is the amount of water the City alone would need to provide its residents with water that meets federal standards and puts the City in line with a compliance plan that must be in place by June, 2018?
* What portion of that base amount of 10.9 million gallons of Lake Michigan water daily might be covered by improving its existing and effective conservation effort?
* What percentage might be found by the City in other combined sources within its basin, and not the Great Lakes basin - - cleaned deep well water, the region's shallow aquifer and new or expanded wells that induce water from the banks of the Fox River - - all examined to determine an amount to be sought through Lake Michigan diversion minus the preceding deductions?
I'll bet the entire withdrawal plan, and its related purchase issues with Milwaukee and possible return flow problems with the diversion's discharge into Underwood Creek would be less controversial locally and with the other Great Lakes down the road if the diverted water total sought were to come down.
And if the application's geographical reach were limited to the City itself and not the expanded service territory as drafted that raises a host of growth, annexation and related hot-button issues.
The water draw should be limited to current demands.
I'll bet the entire withdrawal plan, and its related purchase issues . . . and possible return flow problems . . . would be less controversial locally and with the other Great Lakes [states] . . . if the diverted water total sought were to come down.
And if the application's geographical reach were limited to the City itself and not the expanded service territory . . .
Absolutely correct. And he City would also be meeting the Compact's intent and standards by justifying their need for a diversion; and would be far more likely to gain the support of conservation organizations.
Will the City take such a common-sense tactic?
No. And why not?
The answer is found in this post's headline, your first paragraph, and cemented into place by the egos, careers, and milions of dollars in taxpayer money handed out the back door of the water utility to engineers and PR hacks driving BMWs.
The city is already the highest taxed in the county.
I suppose every state needs a Gary Indiana.
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