Thursday, July 12, 2012

Drought Should Refocus Waukesha Water Diversion Discussion

Federal officials today declared what anyone who's stepped outside in Southern Wisconsin has know for weeks: we're in the midst of a severe drought that's been building for a while.

Attention has turned to conservation - - watering restrictions and the like - - which, like all conservation goals and changes - - need good information and public buy-in to succeed.

Predictive science also indicates that Wisconsin's already changing climate includes rising temperatures, with rainfall likely concentrated in heavy storms rather than the routine pattern we'd come to expect.

More emphasis on conservation is a must.

With that in mind, local governments, state officials and the general public should re-focus the debate over the City of Waukesha's application for a Lake Michigan water diversion - - an application still under review by the DNR, but which has yet to identify a potential supplier of the water Waukesha wants.

That is, in part, because the City of Milwaukee does not want to supply water to four smaller communities Waukesha intends to serve in its proposed water service area supply plan. (More about that issue, below).

The added communities have not directly requested Lake Michigan water from Milwaukee - - one, the Town of Waukesha, has not agreed to join the City of Waukesha's application, adding a further complication - -  and while the City of Waukesha has implemented a water conservation plan, the smaller communities, to the best of my knowledge, do not have similar conservation plans or demonstrable goals and achievement.

So here are two suggestions:

First: Read the governing Great Lakes Compact documents. They are principally water management plans replete with requirements, standards and goals elevating conservation of a shared water resource - - documents approved in 2008 by the Wisconsin legislature, the other seven Great Lakes states, the US Congress, the US President, and Canadian officials, with whom advisory authority rests.

Here is a link and detail with two more links in pdf format from the Council of Great Lakes Governors, to which Wisconsin belongs. Diversion requirements begin on p. 7 of the Agreement (item 1 below):

The agreements include the following:
1. The Great Lakes—St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement (the Agreement), a good-faith agreement among the Great Lakes States, Ontario and Québec; that will be implemented in Ontario and Québec through Provincial laws, and in the States, through

2. The Great Lakes—St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (the Compact), an agreement among the Great Lakes States that was passed into law through an interstate compact. The Compact came into force on December 8, 2008.
Second: Read at the DNR's web page about Compact implementing rules - - some unfinished - - that Wisconsin law in 2008 directed the DNR to write by 2011:

Areas not yet completed:
DNR 854 Water Supply Service Area Plans

CURRENT STATUS - Incorporating Public Comment into Final Rule
Public water systems that serve a population of 10,000 or more and withdraw water are required to develop a water supply service area plan by 2025. In some situations a plan will be required sooner if the system is in the Great Lakes basin and interested in increasing its withdrawal, or if the system is seeking a diversion of Great Lakes water. This rule will specify the procedures and requirements for these plans. Water Supply Service Area Planning Factsheet [PDF 47KB]
The DNR issued a public notice of hearings on the proposed rules, and held hearings Dec. 14th & 15th, 2010.
The proposed rule and supporting documents can be found on the State of Wisconsin Administrative Rules Water Supply Service Area Plans [exit DNR] webpage.

Contact Kay McConnell with questions regarding this rule.

Additional Administrative Rules

  • Water Use Public Participation – This rule will establish the requirements for public participation for proposals for diversions of water.out of the Great Lakes basin.
  • Water Loss and Consumptive Use – This rule will establish the methods for determining the amount of water loss from different consumptive uses.
These rule drafts are expected to be available for public comment in winter 2012. Check back at this webpage or sign up for GovDelivery for notification regarding these rules.
Contact Steve Elmore with questions on these rules.
Both the Doyle and Walker administrations dropped this ball.

This is a bad time to be flying blind when water use, precedent-setting diversion requests and conservation needs are all on the table.


Al Gore is Right!! said...

Al Gore is pretty smart!
And scientific!!
If the dullards who deny science didn’t deny science so much, maybe the world would have listened to AlGore and the drought never would have happened. This drought never would have happened if we would have cut our carbon emissions just as AlGore told us to. We can still prevent the next drought and rainstorm by stopping killing the planet by our overpopulation and use of energy. But people just won’t listen, they won’t listen to AlGore. AlGore is right and since people won’t listen and save the planet, AlGore must be allowed to make people obey for their own good. AlGore must be listened to and people need to be forced to stop using energy for their own good and good of the planet and government guided by AlGore must rule over peoples choices so they won’t kill the planet and cause droughts and rainstorms by using energy and driving their cars all over the place going to places that they don’t need to go and they need to be forced to go only where the government allows them to go for their own good since they don’t listen and when left to their own choices they will use energy and go places and buy things that they think improve their lives but all they are doing is killing the planet by using energy and causing droughts and rainstorms and they won’t grow hemp they only grow cows and cows cause more greenhouse gases and kill the planet but AlGore can lead people along the right path to save themselves and the planet by not using energy or driving cars but he thinks it might be too late and we have already tipped over the tipping point and maybe we will all die from drought and rainstorms anyway but we must try to change the climate anyway by not using energy and listening to AlGore as he needs to be appointed ruler of the world so people will listen and if they don’t listen, then AlGore can put them in jail or maybe concentration camps or I mean re-education camps so they will learn that they can’t use energy so they can save the planet and then the planet maybe won’t get killed and then maybe the planet won’t be mad at us anymore and then there won’t be droughts and rainstorms.


Winter of 2012? When is that? What if we don't have a winter? Can we get a month?

James Rowen said...

I am not seeing the winter reference.

Dennis Grzezinski said...

The winter reference is to when proposed rules are supposed to be available for comment.

James Rowen said...

Thanks. I read right past that!