City on path to finalize water supply agreement with neighboring villages


Daily file photo by Noah Frick-Alofs

The Evanston Water Treatment Plant is at the center of the city’s water system. A proposed agreement would send water from Evanston to the villages of Niles and Morton Grove.

Billy Kobin, Reporter

The city is one step closer to a 40-year water supply agreement with Morton Grove and Niles.

The agreement, which has been in the negotiation process for several years, was introduced to the City Council on Monday. If approved, it would bring in more than $750,000 in revenue for Evanston each year, according to council documents.

Aldermen will vote to pass the agreement at the next City Council meeting on Feb. 13.

City manager Wally Bobkiewicz said the agreement is one of few decisions the city has made in its history that will have long-term benefits, adding that the water agreement will generate money for the city to spend on other projects and initiatives.

“This is a long-term agreement that will serve this community and residents of this community,” Bobkiewicz said.

Bobkiewicz said water supply negotiations between Evanston and surrounding communities began in 2010 and intensified after the city of Chicago implemented water rate increases in 2012. Surrounding communities like Niles and Morton Grove that receive water from Chicago began to seek cheaper water sources, according to council documents. Evanston — which offers water at a cheaper rate than Chicago — pumps its own water from Lake Michigan and treats it in a plant just north of Northwestern’s campus at 555 Lincoln St.

Niles and Morton Grove will pay an estimated $0.78 per 1,000 gallons of water in 2018, a price which will increase yearly and eventually reach an estimated $1.07 per 1,000 gallons of water in 2022, according council to documents. To transport the water, the two villages will chip in to build an approximately $90 million pipeline that will connect to a new meter vault located near the intersection of Emerson Street and McCormick Boulevard, said Dave Stoneback, director of Evanston’s Public Works Agency.

Niles and Morton Grove will also pay Evanston back for the costs of building the meter vault, and no other improvements to the city’s water plant will be needed, Stoneback said.

He said construction on the meter vault will begin later this year, and that he hopes water delivery to Niles and Morton Grove will begin in fall 2018.

Representatives from the three municipalities had previously discussed using existing Skokie and Evanston water lines to distribute water to Niles and Morton Grove, but a new pipeline will be built instead, Stoneback said.

Evanston currently sells water to several entities, including Skokie and the Northwest Water Commission. The contract with Skokie expires next month.

The Morton Grove Village Board of Trustees considered the agreement during its meeting Monday evening, and the Niles Village Board of Trustees will consider the agreement Tuesday.

Aldermen will vote on the agreement at their next council meeting.

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