Water will, in fact, link the communities of Montgomery, Oswego, and Yorkville. For more than a year, elected officials and staff from each municipality have researched and reviewed future alternate water source options individually and collectively as a regional team aptly named WaterLink.
After months of meetings, presentations, conservation education, cost analysis, open houses, and public input, officials and staff from the three communities will recommend the DuPage Water Commission at their respective December Board Meetings as the plan of action for sourcing water to the region. The DuPage Water Commission is a well-established organization that has reliably provided Lake Michigan water to its customers since 1992. WaterLink recommends connecting to Lake Michigan through the DuPage Water Commission based on the quality and sustainability of Lake Michigan water and the proximity to the existing DuPage Water Commission system, providing the lowest combined total cost of a new water source for the three communities.
"By far, this is the single most important decision any of us will make in our times of service," said Village President of Montgomery, Matt Brolley. On Monday, December 13, the Village of Montgomery Board will formally consider selecting Lake Michigan water via the DuPage Water Commission. The Village of Oswego and the United City of Yorkville will follow suit at their meetings Tuesday, December 14.
As early as 2014, engineering consultants working with the communities discussed the long-term water source sustainability issue the region would face in the imminent future. The deep sandstone aquifer that the area depends on for its water is being used beyond sustainable capacity, declining water levels. No amount of conservation efforts will change the aquifer's long-term outlook, especially when considering current demand and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning projection for the region's population growth by 2050.
With the underground pool of freshwater that supplies water to the WaterLink communities and several others in the Chicagoland region slowly draining, officials came together as a region to create a long-term strategic plan and solution. The Illinois State Water Survey, which studies water access and availability throughout the state, projects that the current aquifer will not meet regional demand as early as 2030.
"This partnership between Oswego, Yorkville, and Montgomery allowed us the opportunity to pool collective resources and expertise to find the best long-term solution for our residents and businesses. The goal is a safe, reliable water source for generations to come," Oswego Village President Troy Parlier said.
"We knew our proximity to each other meant what source each community chose would impact the others, so working together throughout the process was vital," said John Purcell, Mayor of Yorkville. "The Village and City Administrators, Public Works Directors, and Village Presidents and Mayors from each of the communities were dedicated to supporting each other in making the best decision for their towns."
"If the Boards vote to make the decision official, the real work will begin so that as a group, WaterLink can begin formal negotiations and agreements for the terms of the water sourcing," said Brolley. "Staff will work internally to plan for the infrastructure build-out required and create a unified timeline that will work for each community as we move towards this transition."
An official decision on each community's future water source selection is on the agendas for consideration at next week's board meetings in Montgomery (December 13), Oswego (December 14), and Yorkville (December 14). The WaterLink group will release more information as it is available, but officials expect terms and formal agreements to take approximately a year to solidify. In some communities, the switch to Lake Michigan water could occur as early as 2027. However, officials forecast that the region may not rely entirely on Lake Michigan to source water until closer to 2030.
For more information, residents are encouraged to visit their respective websites, follow social media, and sign-up for community newsletters and notifications.
Residents can find community-specific information about the alternative water source decision making process online: