More attention is being paid to Waukesha's insistence it be allowed to push diverted Lake Michigan water into an expanded service territory that includes portions of four neighboring communities, and the problems that expansion could bring, if and when the other Great Lakes states begin their required application reviews.
Without the Great Lakes Compact Council unanimously approving the application, no water will flow.
The Milwaukee Business Journal puts it this way:
Great Lakes Compact interpretation could sink Waukesha water pact
While Waukesha specifically lays out its need for Lake Michigan water, the surrounding communities have not, which could be the deal-breaker.
Milwaukee officials and environmental organizers are asserting those surrounding communities must show they need Lake Michigan water, and those communities may have trouble proving that point...
Jared Teutsch, water policy advocate for Alliance for the Great Lakes, Chicago, said that is his biggest area of concern regarding Waukesha’s current application.
“That may be the poison pill that sinks the application in front of the compact council,” he said..."The municipalities in those service areas, they really don’t meet the definition of need.”None of this should surprise anyone, as the risk Waukesha was taking by including the surrounding communities (and without their consent in the first place) was pointed out years ago:
Nearly three-and-a-half years ago, here:
Thursday, July 1, 2010
As Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett noted in a letter yesterday to Waukesha officials:As I see it, the weakest link is not a fuller comparison of water supply alternatives, or the lack of side-by-side cost estimates for potential water purchases from Milwaukee, Oak Creek and Racine...
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%.
A veto of a diversion request using the proposed expanded service area is a real possibility based on the requirements set forth in the Great Lakes Compact. Alternatively, one or more the Great Lakes governors may send it back with instructions to revise the service area. Either way it will encroach on your timeline.
The Compact clearly indicates that a diversion request must demonstrate that the community is without adequate supplies of potable water, that no reasonable alternative supply exists and that the area to which the water is to be diverted and volume thereof should be minimized. The proposed expanded service area is in direct contradiction to those requirements.
The Milwaukee Water Works could provide your residents with a healthy and sustainable supply of drinking water at a rate that our competitors cannot even come close to matching...[and] save the average Waukesha residence up to $95 per year.
Taking action to revise the proposed service area now is likely to relieve you from the expense and time spent on challenges to your diversion request down the road. For the sake of your ratepayers and your timeline, I ask that you reconsider your position on the service area so that we can commence negotiations to serve Waukesha city residents with high quality water at the lowest possible cost.