Water is key issue in Waukesha mayoral race

    The future of Waukesha’s public water supply is emerging as the key point of debate in the city’s mayoral race.
    Incumbent Mayor Larry Nelson is being challenged by Jeff Scrima in the April 6 general election.
    Waukesha has been ordered by the federal government to make its water radium-compliant by 2018 and is in the process of trying to obtain permission to pipe clean water from Lake Michigan through Milwaukee.
    Nelson and Scrima recently outlined their positions on the issue by answering a questionnaire posed by the Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce.
    Nelson agrees that the Lake Michigan solution is best for Waukesha.
    “I agree with the Sustainable Water Supply Coalition that Lake Michigan water is the most environmentally sound and cost©effective solution to Waukesha’s long term water needs. I think what we’re proposing, which will include return flow in an environmentally positive way, can send a message to businesses that southeastern Wisconsin will have successfully solved water issues for the next 100 years,” Nelson said. “Wouldn’t it make more sense to bring your business to somewhere in southeastern Wisconsin than to go somewhere like an Atlanta or Phoenix that is having serious water problems and doesn’t really have a solution? I’m proud to have been a leader in working with both political parties to pass the historic 2008 Great Lakes Water Compact and to help successfully negotiate a radium settlement that gives Waukesha adequate time to develop our future water supply. I’ve partnered with the Waukesha Water utility Commission, its General Manager, and the Common Council to meet with state and federal elected officials as well as DNR staff to make sure our application as well as our process for Lake Michigan water sets a high standard.”
    Scrima disagrees with the Lake Michigan approach.
    “In the interest of Waukesha’s maintaining sovereignty (the ability to self-govern and control the future of their own community), Waukesha should not pursue Lake Michigan water. Milwaukee has already resolved to use water sales to dictate Waukesha’s business, jobs, housing and transit (Milwaukee Resolution #080457),” Scrima said. “Even if Waukesha can negotiate a better water deal with Milwaukee or any other municipality, these deals are always up for renegotiation. This would be something Waukesha would have to fight about for generations. Whose ever hand controls the faucet, controls Waukesha’s future. Waukesha can provide a long-term safe and cost-efficient water source. Waukesha can do this with long-term sustainability and environmental sensitivity. There is a solution. Further water conservation, combined with the resources of the Fox River, quarry reservoirs, shallow wells, and a few deep wells with radium removal facilities, would provide the adequate supply (totaling 18.5 million gallons-per-day maximum-day-demand) for Waukesha’s future. This balanced-approach would not drawdown any one of these sources, instead allow each of these sources to naturally recharge, and allow them to balance each other out in various weather conditions.
    The question is simply who controls Waukesha’s future? Does Waukesha want to be rewarded for dependency or innovation? Some day the world could be coming to us, Waukesha the historic Spring City, as the model and experts of multi-faceted water solutions.”
    To view the candidates’ complete responses to five questions posed by the WCCC, click here. http://www.waukesha.org/news_article.asp?ID=575
    The two candidates will debate the issues on Tuesday, March 23, at 7 p.m. at the Waukesha Civic Theatre, 264 W. Main Street, Waukesha. The event is free and open to the public.
    – BizTimes Milwaukee

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