Thursday, June 14, 2012

City Of Waukesha Water Planning Bitten By Arrogance

[updated 8:00 a.m.]  The City of Waukesha says it's still waiting for an answer about whether the Town of Waukesha wants to be included in the application for a Great Lakes water diversion.

Inclusion would carry a mix of potential benefits, like a new water supply  - - but also perhaps worrisome costs for customers now on Town wells who would be hooked up, and conservation and public planning expenses for the Town so it is in compliance with the Great Lakes water management Compact that sets rules for water diverting communities.

Some Town residents are said to fear annexation to the City. There are a lot of unanswered questions, and it is by no means clear if any of the eight Great Lakes states whose approval of the application must be unanimous will object to the City of Waukesha distributing water to an expanded service area, such as the Town.

[Thursday update, 10:45 p.m.: Milwaukee City analysis shows data Waukesha submitted in support of negotiations for a diversion sale fail to meet Milwaukee criteria. Details here:]

But let's remember a few things that readers of this blog have seen before:

The City of Waukesha went ahead and included the smaller, neighboring and more rural Town of Waukesha and an expanded service territory in the application without consulting the Town.

Mistake number one.

I've been writing about that lack of public input into the application's reach since 2009:

One preliminary piece of Waukesha's probable application has already been provided by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission -- a map designating where outside Waukesha's current water utility delivery territory that Lake Michigan water would be sent.

The map approves many square miles of open space to the water delivery territory, meaning a diversion will inevitably push development farther from Milwaukee -- the center of the region's economy and existing infrastructure -- and more distant from Waukesha's already-built services, too.
The City of Waukesha then denied the Town of Waukesha a seat at the table as negotiating was being planned for discussions which the City was undertaking with potential water-selling communities - - Milwaukee, Racine and Oak Creek.

Mistake number two.

Besides the slight, a successful water sales' negotiation by the City of Waukesha with Milwaukee could have implications for the Town because Milwaukee has a separate set of conditions that could require a receiving community like the Town (via the City of Waukesha) to support the provision of regionally-available housing, transit and development services as Milwaukee's water-sales' conditions stipulate.

The City of Waukesha has said the water service territory map that includes portions of the Town was a product of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission - - but SEWRPC didn't consult with the Town when it produced the map and sent it off to the City for inclusion in the water diversion application.

Mistake number three.

Final score for the the City of Waukesha: two mistakes made in relation to the Town.

SEWRPC, one.

So while the City of Waukesha might be frustrated with the stance of the Town, most of blame  the blame for the state of affairs falls on the City because it drafted and adopted and moved to the state for review the water diversion application and left the Town hanging out to dry with so much water at stake.

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