This summation of just one new wrinkle in the City of Waukesha application for a Lake Michigan diversion highlights all the problems with a document that is still incomplete, has yet to fully reviewed by the DNR, is nearly three years old - - but which is based on assumptions that continue to change.
What changes, you ask?
Since its adoption by the Waukesha Common Council in April, 2010:
* A new water supplier for Waukesha has been identified - - Oak Creek instead of Milwaukee - - which contributes to increases in the application's initial $164 million cost projection to $200 million:
Cost of building pipes and pumping stations needed to carry the water to Waukesha and return most of it to the lake in the form of treated wastewater is estimated at $183 million. Inflation could push the final price to $200 million as the request goes through a multi-state review, [Waukesha water utility general manager Daniel] Duchniak said.* A new water supply service mapped territory. The regional planning commission, (SEWRPC), has been asked to redraw and shrink the service area map because the Town of Waukesha - - which SEWRPC did not consult with in the first place - - now wants nearly all of its Town land removed.
* And with a smaller proposed service territory, presumably there should be a new, reduced proposed daily diversion of water and return flow? The application asks for 10.9 million gallons daily, on average. Is that figure still justifiable for a smaller service territory, and does not that raise the value of conservation and other supply alternatives?
* A return flow scheme now apparently using the Root River and Racine as a discharge point, and not Underwood Creek, the initial and preferred alternative tied to Milwaukee as the water supplier.
Every one of these changes and others that fall like dominos as a result cries out for fresh public input.