Friday, September 20, 2013

For The Record, Waukesha Water Plan Estimated Cost Up 135%

Roaming around on The Google yesterday, I stumbled on something I wrote in 2009 about Waukesha's probable (and still pending Great Lakes water diversion plan):

Final thought:

Waukesha estimated Monday that its water pipe from Milwaukee, and return flow pipe to Wauwatosa, will cost $78 million.

Put that up on your refrigerator and see [whether] that number grows.
Fast forward to last October:
The water pipeline project to and from Oak Creek will cost Waukesha $183 million to build, according to the Waukesha Water Utility.
Now I recognize there's a measure of apples-to-oranges issue there, since the original estimate was based on Waukesha buying water from closer-by Milwaukee, and returning it back to Lake Michigan via Underwood Creek - - schemes requiring less infrastructure than Waukesha's final plan to pipe in water from Oak Creek and return it down the Root River in Franklin to Racine's harbor.

Cost estimates for the Milwaukee supply were in the $164 million-$175 million range, and for Oak Creek as high as $261 million, all according to this report.

Such are the vagaries of trying to write the first out-of-basin Great Lakes diversion application under the 2008 US-Canadian management Compact - - an application yet to be submitted in final draft form to the DNR by Waukesha despite numerous false starts and missed, self-imposed deadlines dating back more than three years.

By the way, The Journal Sentinel had reported the 2009 estimate, too:
City officials began rolling out their long-anticipated bid for Great Lakes water on Monday with a glimpse at its possible costs.

Switching the city's water supply to Lake Michigan rather than groundwater wells would cost $56 million in initial construction costs and another $5.3 million a year in operating costs, Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak said Monday.

Building a pipeline to discharge treated wastewater to Underwood Creek in Wauwatosa so it would flow back to Lake Michigan, as required by a Great Lakes protection compact, would cost another $22million plus $499,000 a year in operating costs, Duchniak said....
Total price: $78 million to get started and nearly $5.8 million a year to operate the system, according to estimates revised since the city's original 2002 water supply study, Duchniak said.


Anonymous said...

"It is likely that only a handful of communities located in straddling counties will have a need for Great Lakes water and also be close enough to Great Lakes water to make it an economical option. Even for Waukesha, the estimated construction cost of the proposed project is more than $200 million."

Reprinted from last Sunday's Milwaukee J/S, Crossroad section. Opine by Dan Duchniak, General Manager of the Waukesha Water Utility.

Keep in mind that the Oak Creek option will not qualify for federal funding.

By it's own estimates, local options are more economical than a Lake Michigan Diversion.

Anonymous said...

Duchniak seems like one of those spinmeisters who is digging himself deeper and deeper into his own spin, 75 million, then 125, then 175, 200 and now up to 260 million! Wasn't plan B supposed to cost in the $150-175 mil range which made Milwaukee initially so appealing?

Well, I guess not anymore.

Soon enough the man behind the curtain will be revealed for what he is, a smooth talking salesman who really has no plan to make this viable and as cost effective as other options (oh yes, the other options problem!).

They will just ask for more money for attorneys/lobbying, send out a few press released to the Freeman, and then when the whole plan crumbles like a house of cards, he'll simply apply for jobs in other communities, resign and let Waukesha foot the bill.