Great Lakes States and Provinces Evaluate Waukesha Water Diversion Application

WUWM, February 18, 2016
Author: Susan Bence

But what dominated the afternoon's discussion was Waukesha’s proposed service area.

Its application extends beyond the city limits, folding in portions of other towns including Waukesha, Delafield and Genesee.

Jennifer Keyes from the Province of Ontario referenced the provisions of the Great Lakes Compact.

"Water should be solely for public water supply purposes of the community within the straddling county that is without adequate supply of potable water. So I understand the applicant and the proposal is meeting Wisconsin state law around servicing areas, but I guess we’re looking for a bit more information on how those additional communities have done their assessment to see whether or not they have adequate potable water supplies outside of Waukesha," Keyes says.

Eric Ebersberger is water use section chief with the Wisconsin DNR.

He says Wisconsin law requires that water supply service areas match what's called an "area wide water quality management plan."

"So water supply planning would match sewer service planning," Ebersberger says.

Michigan representative Grant Trigger pressed the issue. He questions whether the additional communities folded into Waukesha’s plan have a “justifiable need” of its water supply.

"That’s a problem that we’re having. And I raise these points again, not being critical of the work being done. I don’t want to do something that five years from now we’re going to regret because we didn’t figure things like this out and we didn’t sort out the right basis for the decision," Trigger says.

Jennifer Bolger sat among the fifty-some people observing the discussion. She’s executive director of Milwaukee Riverkeeper and part of an environmental coalition concerned about Waukesha’s proposal.

"I was glad to hear that a lot of the questions we have are some of the questions that the regional body is looking at as well," Bolger says.