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State's first 'water czar' talks about job

Wisconsin has a new "water czar." Jeff Ripp is starting his second week as the water conservation coordinator for the state's Public Service Commission.

Ripp will study preservation practices, monitor supplies around the state and look for ways to encourage folks to save water.

Ripp will also examine new technologies and national industry practices, anything Wisconsin's 600 water utilities can use to be more efficient.

The PSC created the water czar's post after Gov. Jim Doyle held a symposium on conservation.

Southeast Wisconsin poses a special challenge because many wells have cancer-causing radium that communities are battling to get rid of.

Waukesha has tried for years to get the approval to tap Lake Michigan for its drinking water. That won't happen at least until a new international water use policy is adopted on the Great Lakes.