It looks like City of Waukesha water officials, their consultants and representatives of several of Waukesha's neighboring municipalities will pull all-nighters this weekend if they want to keep the City of Waukesha's Lake Michigan water diversion application moving through the bureaucratic and regulatory pipeline.
Ald. Bob Bauman, chairman of the Milwaukee Common Council's Public Works Committee, said in a letter to Waukesha Friday that if gaps in materials Waukesha has sent to the City of Milwaukee about Waukesha's Lake Michigan diversion request are not filled in quickly, there will be no comprehensive Milwaukee City Hall meeting about it scheduled for Wednesday, thus further delaying a water acquisition timeline Waukesha has said is already stressed.
As the Journal Sentinel reported Friday:
...the Public Works Committee will not discuss the city departments' reports Wednesday unless Waukesha provides additional information on its housing and public transportation plans by Tuesday morning, Ald. Robert Bauman, the committee chairman, says in correspondence sent Friday to [Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan] Duchniak...Waukesha's proposed diversion plan includes a map showing possible distribution of water to portions of the Towns of Waukesha, Genesee and Delafield, and a piece of the City of Pewaukee, too.
...Bauman's Friday correspondence demands that each of the other municipalities within the future service area submit affordable housing and public transportation plans to Milwaukee by Tuesday morning. If not, Milwaukee will negotiate to supply water to only those municipalities included in the service area that comply with this demand, Bauman says.[Saturday update, 9:35 a.m.] The Waukesha Freeman noted Waukesha's concern over any potential, lengthy delay (page two of its reporting on the Bauman letter).
Here is further background:
If you've been following the recent flow of information provided by the City of Waukesha to Milwaukee in support of Waukesha's bid for a Lake Michigan water diversion purchase by Waukesha - - here and here - - you've read that Milwaukee City Hall analysts and reseachers said some of the much-anticipated information from Waukesha about affordable housing, transit and access to jobs - - key to Milwaukee water-sales criteria - - is incomplete and insufficient.
The information gaps speak to larger issues percolating for a couple of years, at least:
* How much water does Waukesha need?
* Should the distribution area for diverted water include portions of municipalities outside the City of Waukesha's borders?
* Does the inclusion of the non-City of Waukesha communities oblige them to meet conservation standards called for by the eight-state over-arching Great Lakes Compact as well socio-economic expectations laid out to water-buyers by City of Milwaukee policy:
Inclusion [in the Waukesha application] 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.Just yesterday, I wrote:
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...
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.
An independent review by Milwaukee City Hall fiscal and research staffers has found a Waukesha submission about a possible water sale to be insufficient and without adequate details.
Here is some history and information about the Milwaukee findings - - again demonstrating fundamental problems with the application:
Diverted Great Lakes water sales to a community like the City of Waukesha that is outside the Great Lakes basin are subject to a City of Milwaukee review and approval process separate from regional mandates in a 2008 multi-state Great Lakes management Compact.
A sale must also meet requirements for water buyers spelled out in Milwaukee Common Council four-year-old resolution #080457 (full text, here), regarding existing comprehensive planning, and transportation, housing and jobs plans in the buyer's city to help Milwaukee address those needs for its residents.Stay tuned.