Yorkville residents will see another hike in their water bills next month

The water tower in Yorkville's Bristol Bay subdivision

As expected, Yorkville water bills continue to rise as the city prepares to tap into Lake Michigan as their water source.

The average Yorkville resident will see a rate increase of just under $10 per month during the next year, after City Council members approved the increase in an unanimous vote at their April 23 meeting. The new rates will go into effect May 1.

Yorkville, along with Montgomery and Oswego, is getting ready to join the DuPage Water Commission to source water from Lake Michigan, after deciding to do so in 2021. The new water source is needed because the aquifer currently supplying the wells used by the three communities is depleting rapidly.

Yorkville residents pay for water on a bi-monthly cycle, with a base rate for up to 350 cubic feet of water, and a volumetric rate for every 100 cubic feet used over 350.

As approved, beginning next month, the base rate will increase from $24 to $33 and the volumetric rate will increase from $4.80 to $5.80, a 25% increase.

Under the new rates, customers using less than 350 cubic feet per billing cycle will see an increase of $7.50 per month. 39% of residents will see an increase of just over $9 per month, 14% will see an increase of nearly $13 per month and about 5% could see an increase of up to $15 per month.

This is the second in a series of planned water rate increases designed to help finance the major infrastructure project of constructing a new pipeline that will extend from Naperville to Yorkville, connecting with Oswego and Montgomery along the way.

The first water rate increase came in fiscal 2023, when the base rate increased from $17 to $24 in September 2022 and the volume rate increased from $4.30 to $4.80 in January 2023, a total rate increase of about 17%, which resulted in the average resident seeing about a $10 increase per billing cycle.

Water rates are expected to increase by an average of 20% annually over the next five years. The city expects to begin drawing water from the lake in 2028, and by 2030 the typical Yorkville household may be paying over $100 per month for water, more than double the current cost.

Under an approved intergovernmental escrow agreement with Oswego, Montgomery and the DuPage Water Commission, each municipality will pay an equal share of the cost to source the water. Yorkville’s share of the total cost of the project has been estimated at up to $150 million, and is still being assessed by the DuPage Water Commission.

The city is trying to obtain a federal loan for more than $100 million from the federal Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program. In order to close on the WIFIA loan, the city must satisfy a revenue pledge by proving that revenues equal at least 125% of total debt service amounts.

The city is also still in the process of obtaining a water allocation permit from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

In order to obtain the permit from IDNR the city must reduce its water loss-rate to less than 10% by 2026, about 3% less than its current rate. Once achieved, that loss rate must be maintained, and the city will be required to perform an annual audit of the its distribution system to prove it