2 townships want out of water authority

Witness: Sandwich, Somonauk in a different watershed By Dana Herra - Staff Writer SYCAMORE - An expert witness testified Wednesday that two of DeKalb County's southernmost townships are in a different watershed than the rest of the land in a proposed regional water authority, a fact the attorney for Sandwich Mayor Tom Thomas said should exclude them from the authority's boundaries. In the second day of hearings to establish the boundaries of the authority, Northern Illinois University geology professor Colin Booth said Sandwich and Somonauk townships are in the Fox River watershed, not the Kishwaukee River watershed like the rest of the land in the proposed Kishwaukee Valley Water Authority. Booth said neither surface water nor deep aquifer water is shared between the two areas. “There is no connection other than just being adjacent to each other," he said. “If you were to put a high-capacity well in the Sandwich area, it would have no effect on aquifers in the Kishwaukee Valley watershed." The proposed water authority would cover most of DeKalb, Boone and McHenry counties, and would have the power to regulate water consumption and manage the water supply, including condemning land for wells or forbidding well construction. A McHenry County-based group has petitioned for a referendum to create the authority to appear on the April 17 ballot. DeKalb County Presiding Judge Kurt Klein will determine the boundaries of the proposed water authority. Booth was a witness for Thomas, who filed papers as a private citizen objecting to including Sandwich and Somonauk townships in the area to be covered by KVWA. Klein has not yet ruled whether cities have the right to call witnesses in the hearing. “Putting Sandwich and Somonauk townships in this authority is an arbitrary and capricious act," said Attorney Bernie Paul, who was representing Thomas and also is the Sandwich city attorney. He also said the authority would create hardships for the city of Sandwich, which has land in DeKalb, Kendall and LaSalle counties. Petitioners' attorney John Countryman said that while a high-capacity well in Sandwich might not affect water supplies farther north, including the area in the water authority would still protect the existing wells of rural landowners in the Sandwich area. He said the boundaries of the authority are not arbitrary, but drawn along county lines. “The petitioners drew a reasonable water authority based on county lines," he said. “That's a clear, reasonable line, understandable to any unit of government. ... Any town that straddles a county line is going to have problems. If they want to solve that problem, they should de-annex and create a new town, and you can have one in DeKalb County, one in Kendall County and one in LaSalle County." Klein called Booth's testimony “enlightening," but said he will not rule on whether to exclude the two townships until next week, after he has heard all other objections to the authority's boundaries. Klein said he will rule Monday on which entities filing objections have legal standing to be heard in the case, and then he will hear the objections on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week. Hearings are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. each day. Dana Herra can be reached at dherra@daily-chronicle.com.