June 1, 2018
By Cara Spoto
Waukesha — The cities of Waukesha and Milwaukee are being recognized by a nonpartisan government watchdog group for the cooperation they showed in reaching the Lake Michigan water deal.
The city announced in a press release on Thursday that the Wisconsin Policy Forum was awarding the two cities with its Intergovernmental Cooperation Award. The award is part of the nonprofit’s “Salute to Local Government” Awards.
The awards recognize “governments and school districts for innovative problem solving, effective use of technology, partnership, and cooperation,” the release states.
“Last year, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and I made a historic announcement of a water agreement between Waukesha and Milwaukee,” stated Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly in the release. “This was an important collaboration for the common good of our residents and businesses. We are proud to receive this award, which we hope will lead to additional partnerships in the future.”
Waukesha’s current groundwater supply contains natural contaminants, including the carcinogen radium. The agreement to obtain Lake Michigan water provides a new water supply for Waukesha at a lower cost than other suppliers. It also provides a new source of funds for Milwaukee, providing mutual benefits for decades to come, according to the release.
The tentative deal was announced by Reilly and Barrett on Oct. 30, with a ceremonial toast of Lake Michigan water. At the event Barrett called the new partnership “the most significant intergovernmental cooperation agreement in southeastern Wisconsin history.”
The deal became official on Dec. 20, as the mayors were joined by leaders from both cities to sign the regional cooperative agreement. Construction on the project is anticipated to begin in early 2020.
The Wisconsin Policy Forum award presentation will take place on June 19 at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee.