Joliet hosts two virtual meetings this week on Lake Michigan water plans

The city will host virtual meetings for the public on Wednesday and Thursday on plans to get future Joliet water from Lake Michigan.

The Wednesday meeting is at 1 p.m., and the Thursday meeting is at 6:30 p.m.

City staff and consultants will present an analysis on the options of buying Lake Michigan water from Chicago or building a Joliet pipeline to Hammond, Indiana.

The Joliet City Council expects to select one of the options in January, and the city is collecting public opinion.

Those who want to participate in the live virtual meetings, which include opportunity to comment, should register at the city's website on the project, RethinkWaterJoliet.org.

The city also is hosting an online event with video and information about the project at RethinkWaterJoliet.org., which runs until Dec. 14 and also offers opportunity for comment through email to rethinkwater@joliet.gov or by calling 815-724-4220.

Costs for the project have been estimated at between $725 million to $1.7 billion depending on which route the city takes and whether the new system is built for Joliet only or as a regional water supply.

At a presentation earlier this month, consultants said monthly water bills will increase to $90 by 2030, when Lake Michigan water will begin coming through Joliet faucets.

Mayor Bob O'Dekirk in the news release urged residents to make their opinions heard.

"This is one of the biggest decisions facing the city," O'Dekirk said. “As your elected voice, we need to hear your thoughts as the council moves forward with a selection of a water source.”