On January 30, 2020, all of the years of due diligence and hard work to develop a viable water supply project for Waukesha were acknowledged when the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) voted unanimously to approve, with conditions, the Great Water Alliance application, allowing the program to move ahead. That means Great Water Alliance can proceed without delay for bidding on both water supply and return flow infrastructure. In fact, the PSC Commissioners praised the work Waukesha had done in assessing potential locations for the Booster Pumping Station.
This approval represents a significant milestone for the Great Water Alliance and the 70,000 residents of Waukesha who are now one step closer to a fresh, sustainable water source.
The PSC is a state agency responsible for regulating public energy, telecommunications, gas and water utilities in Wisconsin. Members of the PSC are Governor-appointed and provide oversight designed to protect Wisconsin ratepayers.
As such, the PSC has an important and specific role in the Great Water Alliance and its goal to bring safe, sustainable drinking water to the citizens of Waukesha. The Great Water Alliance is required to provide the PSC with information related to costs for the project. Further, the PSC provides oversight of the Waukesha water rates that pay for this important, long-term investment.
For four years, the Great Water Alliance and its partners have provided the PSC with details about the Program. Volumes of information have been shared to ensure the PSC is not only aware of, but favors, the direction the Waukesha Water Utility is taking to utilize Lake Michigan as the sole source of water for Waukesha residents.
There are a lot of moving parts to gaining access to a fresh, sustainable municipal water source. From local and regional authorities to state and federal agencies, the Great Water Alliance has been providing information about engineering, construction, public outreach and much more to obtain the legal right to move the program forward.
Construction is planned to begin this summer. Local officials and residents along the route, including partner communities, will be well-informed, via the GWA website, social media, e-newsletter, open houses and media, to help minimize construction impacts on the public.