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Great Lakes Article:

New water deal seems out of this world
Tom Perry
Green Bay Press-Gazette

On Tuesday the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced that its rover Opportunity confirmed evidence of water on Mars.

Too bad the water is still not there. The Central Brown County Water Authority might have considered running a pipeline to supply water to Green Bayís suburbs.

After all, last week the authority decided to buy water from the city of Manitowoc.

While not as distant as the fourth rock from the sun, Manitowoc is far enough away to make you wonder if authority members were spaced out when they made this decision.

Beyond our grasp

Providing for the future water needs of Green Bay and its surrounding communities is complicated.

Brown County residents have been reminded time and again that understanding all the nuances of water deals is light years beyond the grasp of most mere earthlings.

Thatís why water authorities and commissions pay lawyers and consultants.

Hmmm. Letís think about this for a moment.

Sometime in the future, Green Bay is going to need to build another pipeline from Lake Michigan.

Meanwhile, the suburbs are going to need to get water from Lake Michigan, too.

If two pipelines are built - one for Green Bay and one for its neighbors - who stands to benefit?

You donít have to be a rocket scientist to figure out itís the consultants and lawyers.

Whoís gonna gain

At the same time, who stands to gain if Green Bayís suburbs buy their water from Manitowoc?

Well, thatís easy - ratepayers in Manitowoc.

Nothing against the city of Manitowoc. Itís a fine, hard-working city with a lot of community pride. Indeed, youíve got to take your hat off to officials there for seizing an opportunity.

But donít places like Bellevue and Howard have more of a vested interest in the well-being of Green Bay than that of Manitowoc?

If, as a result of the suburbsí deal with Manitowoc, the cost of water is higher in Green Bay than it would have been with a Brown County solution, wonít that harm the metro area in the long term?

Whereís reason?

The suburbs know that, of course. But the so-called water talks between Green Bay and the suburbs have been so tainted by personality-based politics that logic and reason have long been adrift in zero gravity.

Forget "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.íí Youíd think these authority and commission guys are from two different solar systems.

It truly doesnít matter who is to fault for the fact that the city and the suburbs have been so far apart for so long when it comes to taking care of future water needs. Thereís plenty of blame to go around.

The way things stand now, the best hope for residents might come when the state Public Service Commission takes a hard look at whatís happening here.

At some point, we need everyone involved to come back to Earth.

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