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Waukesha Responds to Lake Michigan Mayors' Water Application Questions

The land that is in Waukesha's future service area limits future industrial and commercial growth, according to letter from Interim City Administrator Steve Crandell.

The responded to a letter from mayors in Milwaukee, Oak Creek and Racine that took city officials by surprise as Waukesha’s looking to negotiate a deal to purchase Lake Michigan water from the three communities.

The letter from mayors Tom Barrett, Al Foeckler and John Dickert questioned Waukesha about the city’s conservation measures, rate increase requests and water service area. All three communities are competitors against one another as Waukesha seeks a new water source, although Milwaukee authorities have not yet started negotiating with Waukesha.

“Our need for a water supply is not about growth or gaining a competitive advantage,” Interim City Administrator Steve Crandell wrote in a response back to the three mayors. “Our need for a new water supply is about protecting public health and choosing the water supply that is most environmentally protective of the waters of the state – both groundwater and surface water.

“Withdrawing and then recycling water back to the Great Lakes after use – instead of pumping unreliable supplies of groundwater resources from one of the state’s two groundwater management areas – is the logical and sustainable policy choice and our only reasonable water supply alternative.”

The documents sent by Waukesha are attached to this article.

Because of the surprising nature of the letter, other elected officials in Oak Creek and Racine made it clear they are interested in continuing negotiations with Waukesha in attempts to secure a water sale deal that could lower water rates for its residents.

Crandell said Tuesday the city’s negotiations with Oak Creek and Racine are going “very, very well.” While there is no update on when Milwaukee will begin negotiations, Crandell said he hopes they can begin soon as Waukesha’s deep in negotiations with the other two communities.

“We are well into this process with Oak Creek and Racine,” Crandell said.

But Oak Creek’s mayor, Foeckler, with Patch about the economic impacts to development in Oak Creek if a deal with Waukesha was approved.

"I have concerns that Oak Creek could be subsidizing development in Waukesha at the same time we're trying to bring in jobs to Oak Creek," he said.

The letter from Crandell outlines the city’s future water service and projected growth estimates for specific areas of economic development. Fifteen percent of the land in the service area is available for development with 1.2 percent of the land outside the city projected for industrial growth and .9 percent for commercial land use.

Johnny Paycheck March 27, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Water for the people!
Waukytalk March 27, 2012 at 09:39 PM
I don't think approval is neede by the Canadian govenrment.
Sarah Millard March 28, 2012 at 12:57 AM
That is true, it is only the Great Lakes governors that need to give the approvals.
Resident of O.C. Paul March 28, 2012 at 12:58 PM
This is from the Great Lakes Basin Compact: Article II A. This compact shall enter into force and become effective and binding when it has beenenacted by the legislature of any four of the States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and thereafter shall enter into force and become effective and binding as to any other of said states when enacted by the legislature thereof. B. The Province of Ontario and the Province of Quebec, or either of them, may become states party to this compact by taking such action as their laws and the laws of the Government of Canada may prescribe for adherence thereto. For the purposes of this compact the word "state" shall be construed to include a Province of Canada. Here is the link to the Compact's site: http://www.glc.org/about/glbc.html
Resident of O.C. Paul March 28, 2012 at 01:08 PM
I know, Lake Michigan does not share a border with Canada, but is the 2nd lake in the chain, and is connected to the other lakes, and the other lakes do share borders with Canada, and what happens in one lake can have an effect on those down stream as the water of the great lakes flows from the high point of the system (Lake Superior) to the lowest point (St. Lawrence Seaway) and eventually out to the Atlantic ocean.

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