Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Waukesha Tone-Deaf On Water, Again

Though maybe it's got friends in high places...

I've commented here before that Waukesha seems oblivious to how water utility statements about Waukesha's controversial plan to divert Great Lakes water could grate on the sensibilities of residents in the seven other states and two Canadian provinces who get to help decide whether Waukesha gets water from a shared and stressed ecosystem.

Fresh case in point - - and remember - - the application is incomplete after more than 40 months ago, the Wisconsin DNR still has to draft, release and take comments on what will be a complex legal and scientific Environmental Impact Statement, and the other jurisdictions regionally will review the plan in detail, but Waukesha says it will go ahead and begin hiring system designers now:

The Waukesha Water Utility, however, is running behind schedule because it has taken longer than anticipated to reach this point, said Dan Duchniak, Waukesha Water Utility general manager. That means the utility will likely hire engineers to start designing the massive water supply project before it receives final approval from the governors of the eight Great Lakes states, he said.
Before it receives final approval...cart before the horse??...unless the winks have been winked and the nods nodded, as this line in a Waukesha Freeman story on July 17 about the diversion plan suggests that under DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp, the agency has become more cheerleader and less a neutral, regulatory watchdog:
She said that the DNR’s job is to help Waukesha develop an application that could be approved.
Related materials, here.


Boxer said...

And tone-deaf, and Compact-oblivious as well on the real reason why Waukesha's diversion request is so important to Waukesha: fueling development.

Cases in point (too numerous to mention, in language both overt and lightly coded:
1) Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce Mentality, Suzanne Kelly, in statements to DNR at hearings last year: "That water is critical for development and growth of our businesses."
2) Waukesha County Exec Dan Vrakas: Purpose [of diversion} is to get City of Waukesha off deep aquifer so the rest of the County can use it.
3) Water Utility manager Dan Duchniak: a) right after Compact passed re no fixed border language--"They didn't say we couldn't grow!" b) over the last 3 years re Town of Waukesha completely included in water service area: "We don't care if the Town is in or out." "That's the stupidest decision ever." "
We have to have an answer by _____. We'll extend the deadline until _____." "We have to fix the radium problem" morphing to "We're running out of water!" morphing to "It's a quantity AND a quality problem." morphing to "It's all about growth."

Anonymous said...

You wrote, "And tone-deaf, and Compact-oblivious as well on the real reason why Waukesha's diversion request is so important to...".

Let's change the end of that sentence to; ...the Great Lakes Compact members.

This has NEVER been about a need for the City of Waukesha. It has always been a want and now seemingly a demand.

Waukesha has many less expensive options. Waukesha has not proposed long term options that are less expensive and more environmentally friendly and they can, but won't.