Great Water Alliance Program

Posted By: Catharine Richardson ACEC WI News, Awards,

2024 Engineering Excellence Best of State

Entering Firm: Greeley and Hansen
Client: Waukesha Water Utility

The Waukesha Water Utility faced a critical challenge as its primary water source, the St. Peter Sandstone aquifer, depleted, jeopardizing water quality and supply for 72,000 residents. To address this, Waukesha embarked on a groundbreaking initiative, the Great Water Alliance Program, aimed at securing a sustainable water supply from Lake Michigan.

A New Water Supply

Greeley and Hansen faced immense challenges, including transitioning to a new water supply, relocating pumping stations, and obtaining more than 80 permits. Trenchless construction, precast reservoirs, and drone technology were employed for efficient execution. Water infrastructure will treat and return all water back to Lake Michigan, achieving unprecedented net-zero water reduction.

The program's success hinged on agile project management, synchronizing design, and permitting to mitigate delays. Extensive coordination across seven communities, two counties, and federal agencies ensured smooth execution. The Great Water Alliance prioritized communication, establishing a dedicated website for updates and interactive maps.

Awards judge Brandon Braithwaite said “Greeley and Hansen orchestrated this colossal project that will be forever enshrined in the legacy of the Great Lakes Compact Council. The level of complexity and multi-agency coordination required was truly astounding, and its impact will be studied for generations."

A New Standard

This program set a new standard for community engagement and agency collaboration. The scope of the project, combined with the adaptability of the team, will serve as a model for future water infrastructure work. This sustainable solution will supply Waukesha with clean water for its growing population while preserving one of the world’s natural wonders.

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