Welcome to the Greater Whitewater and Rice Lake Area! Located in southeastern Wisconsin, the Whitewater area is nestled between the lakes, forests, prairies, and hills of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. There are endless recreational opportunities, sights to see, things to do, ways to get involved, places to eat, and places to shop. Visit our Area Directory for a few recommendations.
When you move to a new area, there are tons of unknowns and questions. The following list compiles resources, websites, and information that will be helpful to know when moving to the lake.
#1 Familiarize Yourself with the Lake Regulations
In general, a boating safety certificate is required for all boaters in Wisconsin born after January 1,1989 (view exceptions here). In addition to the State of Wisconsin's Boating Regulations, local ordinances and regulations are also enforced.
These local ordinances may be different than what you have been accustomed to on other lakes. For example, the first 100 feet of shoreline is no-wake on most Wisconsin lakes; however, the first 150 feet of shoreline is no wake on Whitewater and Rice Lake.
The Whitewater Lake Ordinances are as follows:
· No wake from the shore to 150 feet.
· No wake in channels.
· No wake in the narrow body of water on the north end beyond the state park.
· No wake before 9:00 am every morning.
· No wake after 7:00 pm on Friday, Saturday, and holidays.
· Wake permitted Sunday through Thursday from 9:00 am until sunset except for legal holidays and the day preceding the holiday
· Jet skis are prohibited within 200 feet of shoreline.
· Water-skiers must travel in counterclockwise direction. There is a maximum of two skiers allowed.
The Town of Whitewater ordinances change from time to time, so always check their website for the most up-to-date information.
#2 Identify Your Town
Whitewater Lake is split between the Town of Whitewater and the Town of Richmond. Most of Whitewater Lake is in the Town of Whitewater, but the southern end of Whitewater Lake is in the Town of Richmond.
You will pay your property taxes to whichever town you are in. Fire and ambulance service, garbage and recycling, firework permits, building permits, zoning, branch chipping service, and road maintenance are coordinated with your town.
#3 Greater Whitewater Lake Property Owners Association
The Greater Whitewater Lake Property Owners Association (GWLPOA) was formed in 1948 as a voluntary organization with the purpose of promoting, protecting, and preserving the environment and quality of life. The GWLPOA also coordinates and hosts the social events and activities on the lake including picnics and Music on the Lake concerts. As of 2022, the dues are voluntary and are approximately $40/year (view membership details).
The GWLPOA is a great informational source for lake living, boating on the lake, resident needs, emergency numbers, non-emergency numbers, calendar of events, etc.
#4 Whitewater Lake Management District
The Whitewater-Rice Lake Management District was charted in 1986 by Walworth County to maintain, protect, and improve lake quality conditions. They are also the taxing entity. The applicable taxing fees are included in your property taxes. There is no separate bill.
The Whitewater-Rice Lake Management District addresses lake management issues: shoreline erosion, water quality and testing, aquatic plant control, launch monitoring, fish stocking, wildlife management, boating safety, etc.
#5 Plan Your Boat & Pier Maintenance
The Boat House offers a wide range of services to keep your deck boat, center console, bay boat, offshore, pontoon or skiff running and looking great. Lakeshore Pier Service provides seasonal services to efficiently handle your installation and removal needs for wood piers, manufactured piers, and most boatlifts.
#6 Identify Your Utility & Service Providers
When you move into your new home, you will want to set up the gas & electric and internet services. Garbage pickup and road maintenance are handled by your town.
Gas & Electric
Gas and electric are provided by We Energies.
For the Internet, most people prefer Edge Broadband when it is available. The local area providers include:
Garbage pickup is town specific. For the Town of Whitewater, garbage pickup is early Monday. There are no rules as to when you put your garbage out. Recycling and garbage are picked up separately. You can schedule in advance 12 bulk and/or electronic pickups with John’s Disposal at 262-473-4700.
For the Town of Richmond, garbage pickup is weekly. Pickup days are Tuesday in subdivision areas, Thursday for rural areas. New homeowners should contact the Town Garage for a blue recycling bin. For furniture, carpets, appliances, and construction materials, call ahead as there may be extra charges.
Town of Whitewater provides snowplowing, sanding, mowing, and maintenance for all town roads. The schedule for snow plowing is determined by road usage. The Town of Richmond provides snowplowing, sanding, roadside mowing, and maintenance for all town roads.
#7 Get Licensed
For recreational licenses, the State of Wisconsin requires licenses for ATV/UTV, off-road motorcycles, boating, fishing, hunting, burning, snowmobile, trapping, etc.
All dogs are required to be licensed on an annual basis. For more information on dog licenses in the Town of Whitewater, visit their website. For more information on dog licenses in the Town of Richmond, please visit their website.
#8 Know the Lake Regulations and Zoning Restrictions
You will want to tailor your new home to your lifestyle – perhaps that is a speed boat for water skiing or a fence for extra privacy. Before you make any investments, check the lake regulations, zoning restrictions, and conservation restrictions.
The Town of Whitewater and the Town of Richmond are under Walworth County zoning restrictions. Owners who are interested in a zone change, conditional use, or variance change should contact the Walworth County Land Use and Resource Management office to determine what type of change is needed. Then, coordinate with your town: Town of Whitewater or Town of Richmond.
The Walworth County Shoreland Zoning Ordinance protects water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, and natural shoreline beauty. The zoning ordinance significantly restricts the building of structures, altering the land's contour, and the cutting/trimming of trees, shrubs, or vegetation. Shorelands are defined as lands lying within 1,000 feet of the ordinary high water mark of navigable lakes, ponds, and flowages and within 300 feet of navigable rivers, channels, or streams.
#9 Understand the Difference between Septic, Public Sewer, & Holding Tank
Some lakes have access to a public sewer, while other lake homes simply have a septic system or a holding tank. The newer houses built by the lake are more likely to have a holding tank.
Sewer systems are typically maintained by the public works department for a monthly fee, while septic systems and holding tanks are the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain.
Septic tanks collect wastewater through an inlet pipe, treats through a bio-access process, and releases the treated water into a drain field. A septic system can be very costly to replace and requires maintenance. You will also need to hire a company to empty your septic tank every 1 or 2 years. This number can vary depending on the size of your tank, the average number of occupants, and the amount of use. Depending on the regulations, you may also have to get your septic tank inspected.
A holding tank collects the wastewater through an inlet pipe and temporarily stores the wastewater until removal and transport to treatment facility. Holding tanks usually have to be pumped more often than septic tanks. The frequency varies depending on the size of your tank, the average number of occupants, and the amount of use.
#10 Join the Whitewater Lake Facebook Page
The Whitewater Lake Facebook Page is an excellent lake resource for residents. We have a group who are eager to help one another by providing a recommendation for a fish fry or contractor, supporting your upcoming event, stopping by your rummage, or posting/returning a lost item. You can use the search bar to find answers to your questions. Visit the page, request to join the group, and answer the applicable questions (note that you just bought a house).
#11 Check out Lake Home Info
The Lake Home Info website is a great informational source. Visit the Area Directory to view our favorite things to do, places to eat, service providers, places to shop, community organizations, and more! Check out the Resources page for market updates, checklists, and guides. Visit the Blog to learn more about lake living!
#12 Visit the Post Office
Stop on by the post office and let them know you have moved in. The post office is located in the City of Whitewater at 213 W Center St, Whitewater, WI 53190.