Local governments approve Evanston to supply Des Plaines with water

Paige Leskin, City Editor

Four village boards voted Monday night to approve an agreement for Evanston to supply Des Plaines with up to 5 million gallons of potable water a day starting in 2015.

The Illinois village boards of Palatine, Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove and Wheeling that make up the Northwest Water Commission passed an agreement that allows Des Plaines to purchase its water from the commission, which draws its supply from the Evanston treatment plant.

By serving Des Plaines with up to 5 million gallons of water a day, 1.8 billion gallons annually, Evanston will take in an additional $500,000 in net revenue annually, according to the news release.

The agreement will be in effect for 20 years or until the commission ceases to exist. The water commission was first formed in 1957 to provide the four villages with potable water, which is taken from Lake Michigan.

Although no construction is needed for the Evanston plant, the Des Plaines center will need restructuring to connect to the commission’s water facility. The commission said water delivery to Des Plaines will likely start in mid to late 2015.

Des Plaines City Council passed the agreement with the commission Sept. 15 after officials agreed the transaction would provide benefits to both the city itself and the surrounding area.

“Folks will see that not only does it deliver value to the Northwest Water Commission and hopefully it will allow them to work to make future infrastructure investment, but it also provides significant value to the taxpayers and water users in Des Plaines by driving down our water costs,” Des Plaines Mayor Matthew Bogusz said at the meeting.

The city originally conducted a water study a few years ago to find an alternate water source, city manager Michael Bartholomew said.

Des Plaines has previously purchased its water from Chicago, but the city announced in 2011 that water rate hikes would raise prices to $3.82 per thousand gallons in 2015. Under the new agreement, the city will pay between $1.76 and $1.78 per thousand gallons to the commission.

Bartholomew said the new agreement was a collaboration among various governments that will be the most economically sound for Des Plaines.

“We have a contract that we think is good for the city, will provide long-term savings for the city,” he said. “We budgeted money to the capital infrastructure project, and we had that money ready in the bank to spend it.”

The new agreement would have Des Plaines generate about $2.5 million in net revenue annually to the commission.

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