Residents of Upper Phantom Lake, near Mukwonago, Beaver Lake, near Hartland, and Lake Beulah, near East Troy, are worried that their predominantly spring-fed bodies of water could be adversely affected by new wells on or near those lakes.Mining of water is not without its perils.
"The issue is basically that (communities) are taking on huge amounts of growth and becoming suburbs of Milwaukee, and East Troy is no different," said Rob Hudson, whose family has lived on the nearly pristine Lake Beulah since the mid-1800s.
"We're saying, 'Don't take a chance of damaging one of your picturesque resources that attracts people to the community,' " he continued. "People with homes on the lake have significant investments. If the lake turns into green sludge because of damage done by wells, we'll lose our property values and East Troy will lose taxes."
Hudson said Lake Beulah and Upper Phantom Lake residents are enlisting the help of sportsmen and conservationists who are concerned about water resources.
The recent nasty fight between the village and town of Eagle made headlines. It was so contentious that it spilled over into a failed referendum to dissolve the village in part over a new village well site in the town.
Town officials become angry when the village attempted to annex the land. Eagle Town Chairman Don Wilton said during one of many meetings on the issue that water would surpass oil as the most valuable resource in a county thirsty for continued economic development and the clean water needed to accommodate growth.
The Eagle dispute highlighted the main problem facing water utilities. The traditional source of drinking water - deep underground aquifers about 1,000 feet beneath the surface - has become unreliable and potentially dangerous.