Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Waukesha water diversion plan events on tap this week

There are one-of-a-kind public events this week in Waukesha on that Wisconsin city's application to a body of eight Great Lakes governors for a precedent-setting diversion of Lake Michigan water beyond the boundaries of the Great Lakes basin, and the return of the diversion as treated wastewater via a river that passes through downstream Racine and its harbor back into the lake.
Lake Michigan Landsat Satellite Photo.jpg
You can read the application and many related documents on a website the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has posted on the issue.

Among these meetings in Waukesha is a bus tour of the area tomorrow and a public hearing at Carroll College the next day. 

The hearing will be the sole opportunity anywhere in the Great Lakes region for people to speak in front of these eight Great Lakes states' representatives at one time - - and also to address  Canadian provincial officials who have an advisory role in the application's review process - - though the other Great Lakes states, like Minnesota, have already begun holding public sessions to help their governors decide later this year whether to approve or deny the Waukesha diversion application.

No water can be diverted and pumped to Waukesha - - its source will be Oak Creek's water utility - - without all eight Great Lakes states' governors voting "aye" on the application under terms of a Compact approved in 2008 by the eight Great Lakes states, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec which all share the management of world's largest supply of fresh surface water in the people's interest.

The events' schedule will appear at the bottom of this posting: People unable to attend or speak at the hearing can submit written comments through March 14; that timeline and comment procedures are here.

The scheduling of these events elevates many environmental, legal, fiscal and socio-economic policy issues that drive and define equity - - and inequity - - and development - - and its distortions - -  in SE Wisconsin, and which have been documented across the broader Great Lakes region in a blueprint outlining a fair, and coordinated regional renewal, and which has led to some fine writing in opposition to the proposed diversion.

And that lays out some fresh opportunity, if only the Great Lakes decision-makers can grasp it.

And the events in Waukesha will coincidentally add context to recent Legislative initiatives and some underway even today at the State Capitol to fast-track the sale of local Wisconsin water and sewer systems to private owners, and to grandfather away permanent access to groundwater by mega-dairies and other big ag users regardless of the impact on nearby wells and other water users.

Those actions are part of the Walker administration's ongoing transfer of public air, land and water assets to private ownership or control: no doubt some of the out-of-state regulators and other experts coming for the Waukesha meetings are going to ask their WI DNR counterparts whose work on the diversion application will be front-and-center what it's like to work for a budget-cutting/science-and-scientist-dismissing 'chamber-of-commerce mentality' public resource agency, or, more simply:

 'What the heck is going on with your state and its stewardship obligations?'

Here is the information about the application bus tour, informational meeting and hearing, according to the Wisconsin DNR:

Regional Body and Compact Council hold tour of selected sites in Waukesha and SE Wisconsin (open to the public)
February 17, 2016
Beginning no sooner than 8:30 a.m. CST
Leaving from Carroll University outside the Campus Center, Waukesha, Wisconsin (Transportation will not be provided to the general public, but the public is invited to follow the main bus).
Briefing on the Application by the City to the Regional Body and Compact Council Members, and informational session for Regional Body and Compact Council members to ask questions of the Applicant and Wisconsin (open to the public)
February 17, 2016  
Beginning no sooner than 1:00 p.m. CST
Carroll University, Campus Center, 101 N. East Avenue, Room 214, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Joint Regional Body/Compact Council Public Information Meeting (open to the public)
February 18, 2016
Beginning no sooner than 2:00 p.m. CST
Carroll University, Shattuck Music Center, 218 N. East Avenue, Room 122, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Joint Regional Body/Compact Council Public Hearing (open to the public)
February 18, 2016 Beginning no sooner than 3:00 p.m. CST
Carroll University, Shattuck Music Center, 218 N. East Avenue, Room 122, Waukesha, Wisconsin


Anonymous said...

As long as when I flush the toilet, I get water swirling around, why should I care?

Anonymous said...

Well anon 5:08,
If you live in Waukesha, to fill your bowl will cost you $1000 per year. The cost to flush it has not been disclosed. That's not a royal flush.