U.S. Water News Online
WAUKESHA, Wis. -- A coalition of environmental groups is
asking that Waukesha choose to implement several water conservation
measures before seeking additional water sources.
The recommendations from the coalition were announced at the Lee
Sherman Dreyfus State Office Building, next to the Fox River.
The comments from the environmental advocates come as a decision
is considered imminent on whether Waukesha will be allowed to access
Lake Michigan water. The state Department of Natural Resources said
recently the Council of Great Lakes Governors is expected to vote
soon on an agreement that would allow the city to access water from
But Waukesha Water Utility Manager Dan Duchniak said at a meeting
this summer that if the agreement forced Waukesha to return its
wastewater to Milwaukee, the deal would be harmful to the environment
and prohibitively expensive. The return clause was part of the
agreement when drafted.
One part of the report recommends conservation standards be placed
in the pending council agreement, known as the Annex 2001 agreement.
Calling the recommendations a tool kit, Jodi Habush Sinykin,
counsel for Midwest Environmental Advocates, said, "We are interested
in using this tool kit to call residents and public officials'
attention to those conservation measures likely to prove most
beneficial and to build support for their implementation throughout
Waukesha and Waukesha County."
She added, "While city and utility officials continue to express a
commitment to water conservation, we hope they use the tool kit to
follow through on promises made to date."
Steven Schmuki, president of the Waukesha County Environmental
Action League said, "We see this as part of a process. We need to
conserve and preserve as much of this resource as we can. And now
seems to be the time to say that."
Duchniak said the utility agrees with most of the goals but added
the statutory changes are larger than just Waukesha.
"Most of these recommendations go along with our goal of reducing
Waukesha's water usage by 20 percent by the year 2020," he said. "So
we look forward to working with them on conservation."
The Waukesha Water Utility released a statement saying the Midwest
Environmental Advocates recommendations are consistent with a plan
the city revealed in May to conserve, replenish and protect water
"We will protect water during every step of the water cycle, from
rainfall and snow melt to the groundwater that recharges our lakes,
streams and rivers," Duchniak said in the statement.
The Waukesha Common Council recently passed an ordinance limiting
the hours of lawn sprinkling and car washing, adding that more
stringent restrictions could be implemented in times of severe water
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