Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Waukesha's Neighbors Could Be Dropped From Water Discussion Wednesday

Why? Because the City of Pewaukee, and the Towns of Waukesha, Genesee and Delafield did not submit information about inter-community services required by Milwaukee since 2008 (full text) of potential buyers seeking diverted Lake Michigan water, despite a recent request from Milwaukee for the information.

The City of Waukesha included the smaller municipalities in its 2010 Lake Michigan water diversion application - - without their consent.

Milwaukee Common Council Public Works Committee chair Bob Alderman Bob Bauman told me today why his committee meeting to discuss possible water sale negotiation issues could end up limited to the cities of Milwaukee and Waukesha:

The City of Waukesha has submitted additional material which substantially complies with our Water Sale Policy Resolution. None of the other political subdivision have submitted information. Accordingly the committee will consider a substitute resolution authorizing the commencement of negotiations with the City of Waukesha regarding water service to the City of Waukesha only.
Background, here.

This could begin winnowing down Waukesha's demand for water, as the expanded service territory outside its city limits has been what I have called the application's weakest link:
The weakest link in the application - - and what will raise questions all the way from the Town of Waukesha to the City of Milwaukee, and with reviewers and regulators in all the eight Great Lakes states, is Waukesha's plan to send Lake Michigan water into parts of Pewaukee, Genesee and the Town of Waukesha.

Expanding the current service territory land mass by 80%.

That expansion - - mapped out and green-lighted by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission for the Waukesha application administatively, without public review - - plays some role in Waukesha's request for up to 18.5 million gallons of Lake Michigan water daily.

Yes, the figure is a maximum, worst-case, drought-or-fire situation to be sure - - but clearly Waukesha and its water utility, like revenue-producing utilities are wont to do, intends to grow its customer and water rate base outside the city limits and water service territory.

Can annexations be far behind?


Anonymous said...

There is commercial land 2 miles south of the current Waukesha city limits (on Hwy 164 & Townline Rd in the town of Waukesha) that says "For Sale - Coming Soon - Municipal Water Coming Soon"

I'll send the photo if you give me an email address.

Anonymous said...

Annexation of small portions of each neighboring community is a possibility. But the City alone cannot afford the capital project of Lake Michigan water AND the rates Milwaukee will command, economic compensation such as the "Cleveland Agreement", more low income housing (yes, Waukesha has alot already)and more empty buses running around town as required in resolution 080457.
Revenue is already down due to a drop in consumption and costs are up due to all the PR, consultant fees, lawyers and out of control employee costs.
Lake Michigan water from Milwaukee as a new source of water has been dead for years.
Will someone please wake up the Waukesha Water Utility Commission from their REM dream state?Letteet4B

James Rowen said...

@anon - - 2:37 p.m.


@ANON - We can't afford not to. But please no busses to Brookfield Square- we don't want another Mayfair do we.

Anonymous said...

"We can't afford not to."

You have no clue of how expensive Lake Michigan water will be compared to local sources.

The water utility is throwing 3 million in profit to Milwaukee as a bone - without all the above mentioned items. That's 3 million over local sources right there.

Eric Eggers said...

Continuing to rely on "local sources" will lead to environmental damage and eventual exhaustion. The acquisition of lake water is the least expensive option, at least with regard to initial costs.

And what's with the "Mayfair" thing? That sounds racist/classist.

Anonymous said...

Acquisition of Lake Michigan water is the least expensive option IF:

1.Waukesha gets Milwaukee water,
2.With a Underwood Creek return,
3.Both 1 & 2 are approved by the DNR,
4.Within 1 year, the first ever diversion exception is completely vetted by all Great Lakes States and the premiers of Canada without a single objection.

Beyond that, Waukesha rate payers will be paying to maintain 2 water utilities, operate, maintain and someday replace the new transportation infrastructure to deliver and return water.

Waukesha water from Lake Michigan will be so unaffordable that the cost will drive people away and drop property values. There will be more affordable and available housing in Waukesha. Why do you think the Town of Waukesha is in no rush to jump on board with this really expensive option? They don't have a water utility or a distribution system!

Your first statement leads me to believe that you have no faith that Milwaukee's business community can deliver to be the self proclaimed water solution capital of the world.

I would tend to agree with that possible opinion if 2 pipes and pumps, is viewed as a world class water solution for Waukesha. If so, Milwaukee will never be thought of as an innovator in the water industry.

Anonymous said...

It is funny about the water service area...getting Great Lakes water is a strategy to allow for continued growth..even though there are many comments from City officials to the contrary. I guess we will get a front row seat to see just how serious the City is about not wanting to grow into the expanded area..there is an annexation request for Sunset/Genesee south west corner. (Walgreens/Aldi Mark Lake)

This land is currently residential zoning and is in the Town of Waukesha. The developer was put on hold by the Town Board because of the bypass and now the developer is looking to annex..perhaps the other States and Canada will look at this as proof of the City's true intention to grow into the expanded water service area..
Will the Common Council change their land use plan, Zoning and annex the land to allow a developer to circumvent the wishes of the neighboring community...if they do I am guessing that others may view that as a demonstration of intent to expand and that runs contrary to the applications representations...
I guess we will get to see what happens...

Eric Eggers said...

By "local", I meant to Waukesha. The sources currently in use and among those explored for long term supply--the deep aquifer, municipal wells--will not be adequate to sustain the kind of growth a community like theirs desires. I do have good faith in the ability of Milwaukee's water leaders to provide us a solution and never meant to imply otherwise. It is why I believe prices won't become prohibitive. Waukesha is pursuing this option because they know it's in their best interests.