Waukesha should look to other alternatives for water

Waukesha should look to other alternatives for water - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 10, 2015
Author: Lynn Broaddus

We've heard many well-stated perspectives on Waukesha's request to build a pipeline to tap Lake Michigan's water. Missing from those arguments is that there is a high risk that the proposed $207 million pipeline could become a white elephant. My concern is based on three intersecting lines of thought.

The first is that across-the-board water use is declining despite a growing population. These trends hold whether one looks at national trends, or if one drills down to specific cities or suppliers. Seattle, despite being a region with ample rainfall, is a particularly well-documented example where, from 1996 through 2007, water use declined 26% while population increased 16%. American Water, a private company that provides water services in many U.S. communities, saw a roughly 15% reduction per user over the decade leading up to 2013.

Keep in mind that these communities were not necessarily trying to incentivize conservation, but it happened anyway. Even Waukesha has experienced significant declines in water use in recent years.

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