Officials from the will meet with Milwaukee's technical staff next week as Waukesha looks to open negotiations to purchase Lake Michigan water from Milwaukee.
While the meeting doesn’t jump start negotiations, it is a step forward as Waukesha leaders want to add Milwaukee to its list of potential water suppliers. Waukesha is already in the midst of negotiations with Oak Creek's and Racine's water utilities.
After Milwaukee’s technical staff reviews the information Waukesha has provided to them, the Milwaukee Common Council will have to open negotiations.
“We are hopeful that that process will start move forward next month,” said Dan Duchniak, Waukesha Water Utility general manager, during a phone interview with Patch.
Waukesha’s negotiation team met this week with Mayor Tom Barrett’s chief of staff, Pat Curley, about opening up those negotiations.
“We had a very productive meeting with Mr. Curley in which we both concluded that negotiations for a potential water sale between our communities should proceed without delay,” Duchniak wrote Barrett in a letter on Friday. “There is no guarantee that we will successfully reach a mutually beneficial agreement, but continued delay of the process could eliminate Milwaukee from any consideration given our progress with other communities. Only by negotiating can we effectively explore the benefits of an agreement and resolve questions or concerns.”
Meanwhile, Waukesha Water Utility officials hope that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will complete its two-year review of its application to obtain Lake Michigan water and forward it to other Great Lakes states for approval. Already working on a tight timetable to finish the water project by the June 2018 deadline, the water utility anticipates a decision from all the Great Lakes states by the end of the year.
The water utility would like to see negotiations completed by July with the three communities. That would allow the Common Council to make its ultimate decision by January 2013. Construction would begin in June 2014, if all moves forward.