Waukesha Launches Interactive Map to Watch Lake Michigan Water Transition that Starts Monday, October 9

October 4, 2023
Waukesha's new water tower

Ninety Percent Will Transition in five days, but 10 Percent Could be Waiting up to Four Weeks for the New Water Supply

Waukesha Water Utility customers will be able to track the progress of the city’s new water supply when the transition from ground water to Lake Michigan water begins on Monday morning, October 9. A new interactive map has been launched on the Waukesha Water Utility website that you can find here.

Waukesha interactive water transition map
Waukesha has launched an interactive map to show the transition to Lake Michigan water.

Blue areas on the map will indicate where the utility has confirmed the presence of Lake Michigan water by taking samples from hydrants being flushed. No activity will be visible until Monday when the transition begins, but we suggest that you bookmark it if you’re interested in following the progress.

The water utility must move approximately 50 million gallons of water through more than 300 miles of water mains over the course of several weeks, starting on the east side of Waukesha. The Waukesha Water Utility serves the 72,000 residents of the city, as well as some residents in the City of Pewaukee and the Village of Waukesha.

The water utility has forecast the transition will occur for 90 percent of its customers within the first five days. However, they are now noting that the remaining 10 percent of customers could be waiting three to four weeks for the new water supply if they are located on the edges of the utility’s service area or at dead ends and cul-de-sacs. This is important for those ten-percenters who need to bypass their water softeners or prepare their kidney dialysis or fish tanks for the transition. For more information on preparing for the transition and deciding what to do with your water softener, see our previous story, “Waukesha: Should You Keep Your Water Softener?”

“The most common request from city residents has been for more certainty about when the water will reach their home or business,” Mayor Shawn Reilly said. “I thank the utility for being responsive to concerns by developing an interactive map. That will help customers track the progress of the lake water through the city. Having this information will help residents understand when the new water supply may reach them, so they can watch for potential issues like discolored water,” Reilly said. “The map will also help our business customers who need to make adjustments for the water supply.”

The switch from the city’s groundwater supply to 100% Lake Michigan water from Milwaukee was originally planned for mid-September. The utility pushed the date pack to October 9 to provide more certainty about the timing of the change and to better address issues that came up during preparations.

“The utility’s priority has been to minimize inconveniences that may occur during the transition,” the mayor said. “The extra time gave utility staff time to ensure the best product. For example, utility officials decided to empty the new above-ground reservoirs and refill them in order to minimize any potential taste or odor problems during the transition. It also addressed programming issues that had developed with its new water pumps during startup testing.”