The Joliet City Council held a special meeting on Thursday to discuss the future of the city’s water supply. Current studies have shown that the city aquafer will be unable to meet Joliet’s demands by the year 2030. The Council has already decided that the city will be switching to Lake Michigan water but the question remains if the source of that water will be a partnership with the city of Chicago or with the city of Hammond, Indiana. During the special mayor both Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago and Mayor Tom McDermott of Hammond made their pitches for partnership with Joliet. Lightfoot touted Chicago’s award-winning water quality, the city’s willingness to work with Joliet as a regional partner that would help Joliet finance the project if necessary and a transparent rate setting agreement that would see that Joliet only be charged for the cost of providing water to Joliet with no additional fees or add ons attached.
Mayor Tom McDermott of Hammond stated that Joliet would own the pipeline if they made a deal with the Indiana city. He spoke about Joliet being able to control their own water “destiny” and not be at the control of a system like the one in Chicago. Current cost analyses shows that the Hammond pipeline would cost the city an estimated $1.03 to $1.37 billion while the Chicago plan would cost between $592 to $810 million.
The official selection of the new city of Joliet water source will take place at a special meeting of the council on January 28th, 2021.