Faced with a water supply that will no longer be sustainable by 2030, the City of Joliet launched a study of alternative sources of water in August 2018. An initial list of 14 potential sources was reduced to five, including the Illinois River, Kankakee River, Lake Michigan through the Chicago Department of Water Management, Lake Michigan through the DuPage Water Commission and Lake Michigan through a new Indiana intake. Alison Switzer from Rethink Water Joliet broke down the cost of all the possible alternative source telling WJOL that “none of the alternatives are perfects and all are going to cost money.” The possible construction costs of a new system are $300 to $900 million.
The possible cost increases for Joliet residents could range from $42 for the Illinois River option to the $69 for the Lake Michigan option per billing cycle. After reviewing each of the possible option and able to eliminate several options. The first option eliminated is the Kankakee River as new regulations during drought times would create a limit on the amount of water used and therefore is no longer seen as a viable option.
The second option eliminated is purchasing water from the DuPage Water Commission. due to the cost and availability of the water. The real work will begin once that new source of water is identified as the city will need to begin negations if needed, hiring a design and engineering team, conducting routing studies to find the best route for the new water system, meeting with regulators and developing a funding strategy. The Joliet Water Commission will make an official recommendation on December 10th with the City Council voting on the recommendation at the December 7th pre-council meeting.
More information on the future of Joliet’s water supply can be found at rethinkwaterjoliet.org.