Friday, June 22, 2012

Waukesha Said Water Service Map Can Be Redrawn

One of the issues raised at Wednesday's meeting in Milwaukee City Hall was whether changes could be made to the territory in which the City of Waukesha intends to offer diverted Lake Michigan water obtained either from Milwaukee - - Waukesha's preferred seller - - or from Oak Creek and Racine.

The City of Milwaukee objects to the proposed water service territory map in the City of Waukesha's diversion plan that contains portions of four additional communities, including the Town of Waukesha, but the Journal Sentinel reported that a representative from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday that Milwaukee could not negotiate a water deal with the City of Waukesha that did not include the four smaller communities.

And the City of Waukesha said it would not consider such a deal.

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission is now saying it will review the particulars of a water deal, too - - so it seems there are lot of cooks at the stove, but Milwaukee is being told just to bring the main ingredient without any say in the recipe.

So is the proposed water service area as mapped set in stone?

Milwaukee officials don't think so, and while I'm waiting for an answer to the question from the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission's Executive Ken Yunker yesterday, here's some additional support that a little Googling turned up early this morning for the idea that the map can be changed.

City of Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak described a fairly straight-forward procedure available to change the map when he addressed a public meeting on water issues hosted by the Town of Waukesha on May 12, 2011 as part of its public process to decide if it wanted to be in or out of the diversion application.

The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission drew up the map without consulting the Town of Waukesha, and the City of Waukesha included the SEWRPC map in the diversion application without the Town's approval.

The Town has yet to decide if it's in or out of the water map and plan: being in carries with it benefits - - Lake Michigan water, for example - - but also potential financial, legal and conservation-planning costs, too.

If you go to the Town's website, and click on the red link in the middle of the home page - - Minutes from the May 12th Water Service Meeting - - you will find a long pdf containing that meeting's transcript, and on successively posted pages numbered 19 and 24, Duchniak notes that there is "a process in place" for deleting from or adding to the service territory as mapped for the diversion application by SEWRPC.

So the question would be: why can't the City of Milwaukee as a potential seller of water request or negotiate for a change in the area to which its purchased water would be delivered if potential receiving water communities can add or delete themselves from the service area?

...but if we wanted - - if you wanted to eliminate other areas from the water service area, we could go through the process of requesting that through SEWRPC because there is a process in place that allows for addition or elimination of properties from that.

So if the Town Board decides not to be included in the service area, what we would do is we go to SEWRPC and request that the Town of Waukesha be eliminated from the service area.


Lake levels are beginning to drop suddenly said...

So tell me James - were the demands for water based on all the communities considered. If not I would assume the application needs to be altered to reflect those demands.

I also assume that the additional communities have not submitted affordable housing and transportation services in the original proposal.

Are these additional communities trying to hide something we already know? Are they unwilling to reveal the awful truths?

A. Wag said...

Duchniak's "We can't." really means "We don't want to."