Wisconsin Lakes

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WI Lakes

Water Quality Task Force Heads to Milwaukee

Invited guests and the public to be heard by legislators Tuesday, August 13 at UW-Milwaukee

Infographic of Water Quality Task Force Hearing Locations

The Speaker’s Water Quality Task Force, a bipartisan joint committee of both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature will be back in action next week with another in a series of hearings to collect information and gather your input on the problems and solutions to Wisconsin’s water quality crisis. Too many homes in the state can’t drink the water from their tap and too many lakes and streams suffer from summer blooms of toxic algae and other problems from phosphorus, nitrates, and other contaminants in their waters. These hearings are an excellent opportunity for you to tell your story and call for legislators to put Wisconsin’s water first with real legislative solutions and not simple band-aids that fail to reach the root causes of these issues.

This time around the committee travels to UW-Milwaukee and will hear from invited guests starting at 12:15. Invitees include:

  • Wisconsin Dept of Health Services and Wisconsin Dept of Natural Resources
  • American Council of Engineers
  • Milwaukee County Health Dept and Milwaukee Water Works
  • MillerCoors
  • Milwaukee Riverkeeper and Milwaukee Water Commons

The general public may give up to three minutes of testimony following the conclusion of the invited guests, which is estimated to be around 3pm (though in past hearings, the invited guests have gone longer than anticipated). If you plan to speak, you’ll need to fill out a speakers slip when you arrive at the hearing.

If you’re planning on attending and/or speaking, let us know! Follow this link to a short form that will help us know who from the lakes community will be in attendance and what issues are of greatest importance to you. You’ll also be sent information on how best to prepare to testify and even provide some starter ideas if you’re not sure what you want to say.

The Speakers Task Force on Water Quality was created to gather information and make public policy recommendations to better asses and improve the quality of both surface water and groundwater in Wisconsin. Created by order of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), the task force was asked to focus on identifying the best practices for soil mapping and data collection, determining the sources of contaminants, assessing runoff management, investigating remedies that will protect a healthy and stable supply of water, and exploring best practices for designing and constructing well and septic systems. More information about the task force can be found on their webpage.

Even though the focus of much of the discussion around these issues concentrates on clean drinking water, it’s crucial that the lake community is heard in this process. For one thing, clean drinking water is important to us all, and we should support those in our state that don’t have access to water to drink, cook with, or bathe in. But the problems plaguing our polluted lakes arise from many of the same places that pollute our drinking water, and this is a unique opportunity for lake property owners and those who care about our surface waters to tell their stories and call for lasting solutions focused on the big picture. Wisconsin deserves clean water flowing from its taps and in its waterbodies. Lending your voice can help make this happen.

Thinking about going to a hearing, but don’t know what to expect or how to testify? The River Alliance of Wisconsin created an excellent short video to help get you started.