The fourth and final public meeting in SE Wisconsin that Waukesha officials are holding to explain its plan to divert Lake Michigan water and return it via the Root River through Racine - - despite objections there - - will be held tonight in downtown Milwaukee.
The meeting is informational, not a public hearing at which audience members can address the assemblage. Statements for the record can be left or made at various stations in the meeting rooms in:
Zilber School of Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, rooms 109, 119 and 129, 1240 N. 10th St., Milwaukee.Environmental groups with concerns about the Waukesha plan had sought a more open format.
Sometime next year, assuming the Waukesha diversion plan gets a thumbs-up from the Wisconsin DNR, there will be formal public hearings held by the DNR on the diversion plan as well as on the results of the DNR's technical and environmental reviews.
The entire record will then be forwarded to the two Canadian Great Lakes provinces for their evaluation, and also to the seven other Great Lakes US states for their reviews eventual up-or-down reviews.
All eight Great Lakes state governors, under a 2008 regional water management compact, must approve a diversion of water to a community outside of the Great Lakes basin like Waukesha before any water can flow.
Waukesha first sent the DNR, in 2010, a proposed diversion plan that has been substantially rewritten.
The proposed project cost has risen from a 2009 estimate of $78 million - - an amount that would have been covered by Waukesha's run at federal project financing aid - - to a current projection of $206 million.
The revised plan has not been brought before the Waukesha Common Council for an examination, hearing and vote.
Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Daniel Duchniak has said the diversion is the city's best supply option to meet a long-standing, court ordered 2018 deadline, and he has repeatedly denied the diversion will spur sprawl.
Some of the diverted water is ticketed for acreage outside of the city's municipal borders, including raw land and developed property in nearby towns currently on wells.