Thursday, February 9, 2017

Walker budget eyes more regional water planning. Lawyers??

I hope my water law friends can help decipher these two short pages - - 799-800 - - in the Governor's Executive Budget. 

Something is afoot with the state carving out some new regional water powers to be placed somewhere , as I read it.

Could Waukesha, or the Southeastern Regional Planning Commission or a new regional water authority as already envisioned by SEWRPC, business groups and within the Waukesha-Oak Creek water diversion supply agreement - - details here - -  be awarded some more regional water planning powers - - "an areawide water quality planning agency designated by the governor" - - as mentioned in the Govern's budget text, below? 

Who's going to be included in such a new planning body, and why? 

Remember that Waukesha roped several neighboring communities into its Great Lakes water diversion application without these communities initial approvals?


Page - 799 -2017 - 2018  Legislature



SECTION 1800.  281.348 (1) (cm) of the statutes is created to read:

281.348 (1) (cm)  “Great Lakes council” means the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence

River Basin Water Resources Council, created under s. 281.343 (2) (a).

SECTION 1801.  281.348 (3) (c) 1. of the statutes is amended to read:

281.348 (3) (c) 1.  Delineation of the area for which the plan is being prepared

and proposed water supply service areas for each public water supply system making

a withdrawal covered by the plan, except as provided in par. (cm) or (cr)

SECTION 1802.  281.348 (3) (cm) of the statutes is amended to read:

281.348 (3) (cm)  For the purposes of plans under par. (a), and except as

provided in par. (cr), an areawide water quality planning agency designated by the

governor under ch. NR 121, Wis. Adm. Code, shall delineate the proposed water

supply service areas for all of the public water supply systems in the planning area

for which the agency is designated.  An areawide water quality planning agency shall

delineate proposed water supply service areas that are consistent with the approved

areawide water quality management plan under s. 283.83 for the planning area and

that permit the development of plans that are approvable under par. (d).  An

areawide water quality planning agency may also provide regional water needs

assessments and other regional water supply planning information.  The process for

conducting regional activities under this subsection may be the same as the process

for regional water supply planning for a groundwater management area designated

under s. 281.34 (9).

SECTION 1803.  281.348 (3) (cr) of the statutes is created to read:

281.348 (3) (cr)  For the purposes of plans under par. (a), the Great Lakes

council may delineate the proposed water supply service areas for a public water

supply system making a withdrawal from the Great Lakes basin.  The proposed

Page - 800

water supply service areas delineated by the Great Lakes council need 
not be consistent with the approved areawide water quality management plan under s. 283.83 for the planning area. 


Anonymous said...

Waukesha, Oak Creek, and Franklin entered into negotiations to form a common utility so Waukesha would have a seat at the table in rate setting. To offset the cost of a Lake Michigan Diversion, it is quite likely they will offer to sell water to any customer willing to connect to the main from Oak Creek to Waukesha. Waukesha was lobbying in Madison weeks ago to change statutes that required the sewer service area to coincide with the water service area. Waukesha wants the law changed to say, "unless the Compact Counciil says otherwise". This change would allow current municipalities purchasing water from Milwaukee to switch to Waukesha's main and still stay on the MMSD sewer system.
In addition, a new SEWRPC report released last week, Vision 2050 makes no mention of water service areas or planning, but does show planning based on sewer systems by municipality. Keep in mind that Waukesha has yet to petition SEWRPC to redraw the water service area based on the redrawn map by the Compact Council. By "unconnected" customers in Waukesha, of which there are currently none, projections show they and many more new customers will be serviced by the Waukesha Sewerage Treatment Plant. The Compact Council should have made return flow caps and consistent with supply flow. Racine's harbor is going to be Waukesha's toilet as Representative Mason of Racine would say.
Waukesha ,and Scott Walker about to prove why the Waukesha decision weakened the Great Lakes Compact.

Bill McClenahan said...

Actually, the language does the opposite of the theories in the blog. The planning agency language is existing law. The amendment simply acknowledges that the service area is the service area set by the Great Lakes governors.

94% of Wisconsin municipal wastewater plants discharge to rivers. The only thing unusual about Waukesha's discharge is that its level of treatment is matched by only a handful of communities in the state. Waukesha itself is downstream from two dischargers to the Fox River without concerns or restrictions on use.

Where's the ethics? said...

Why create another new governor appointed planning agency when we already have one, SEWRPC? This change in the law separates coordinated water and sewer requirements for development which reaches far beyond the approval of the redrawn water service area by the Great Lakes Compact Council for the city of Waukesha.

Bill McClenahan said...

Nothing new. Still SEWRPC. The blog post did not show the formatting of the budget language, such as underscoring, which makes clear what is existing law and what is new. (cm) is existing law, but it is amended to say except under (cr), which makes clear that the Great Lakes governors' area is the area. Nothing controversial.

Anonymous said...

Nice try,Bill. The language allows the current SEWRPC borders drawn including all the adjacent Towns and Villages to be in the Waukesha sewer service area. The first commenter nailed it. Racine's harbor will become Waukesha County's cesspool.

Bill McClenahan said...

The SEWRPC language is existing law, created as part of the Compact implementation bill. The only amendment being made in the budget is a new exception saying the 8 Great Lakes governors can set something different. The blog post does not show that because it omits the formatting that distinguishes between current law and the amendment. Your anonymous claim is 100% wrong. Waukesha's service area was set by the 8 governors on the Compact Council. It is essentially limited to the city.

And, again, 94% of the state's wastewater plants discharge to rivers. Waukesha is among the cleanest and already discharges to the Fox River, along with two other municipalities.

Anonymous said...

The Compact Council has drawn boundaries for where Great Lakes water can be distributed outside the Great Lakes basin - as a precedent . And, Waukesha is to return an equal amount minus consumptive use. As part of findings by the Regional Body of the Compact Council, in part Waukesha sold the application on the concept of returning 100% of the water withdrawn from Lake Michigan for the supply service area, or as Waukesha described summarized, "borrow" Lake Michigan water.

After the "final decision" to set this precedent, Governor Walker is now creating new statutes that change the return flow quantity by not having Waukesha ask SEWRPC to redrawn the current water and sewer boundaries, but rather allow the Compact Council to draw the water service area and SEWRPC to draw the sewer service area, the existing map, which is far greater than a 100% return flow.

Waukesha accepted the terms of a reduced service area and a limited quantity of 8.1 ADD. Waukesha never presented a request to increase return flow greater than the 100% return flow pledge.

Classic bait and switch in what appears to be Waukesha's first attempt to violate the Great Lakes Compact.

Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway Cities Initiative, the Great Lakes mayors, now have no dispute of standing for Mayor Dickert of Racine in the challenge to approval of the application - as a precedent.