As the clock ticks down for Oswego, Montgomery and Yorkville to find an alternative water source, officials from the three communities joined together last week to host an open house to provide information about the options and their efforts.
The open house Sept. 15 at Grande Reserve Elementary School in Yorkville featured slides detailing the background behind each community’s need for a new water source and the available options.
According to information provided by the village of Oswego, the deep ground aquifer used by the three communities is at risk of depletion and will be unable to meet the water needs of the village along with Yorkville and Montgomery sometime between 2030 and 2050.
“No amount of conservation efforts will change this risk of depletion [of the aquifer] due to the high area demand and the comparatively slow rate of recharge within the aquifer,” according to a memo to the Oswego Village Board from Public Works Director Jennifer Hughes and Assistant Public Works Director Utilities Timothy Zasada.
The demand for water will increase in the coming years as populations continue to rise in the three communities. Montgomery is estimated to have 42,000 residents by 2050, Oswego is projected to reach 53,853 and Yorkville is projected to reach 47,796 residents, according to information provided by the communities.
For a new water source, each community is studying the feasibility of securing water from the Fox River or from Lake Michigan. Under one of the Fox River source scenarios, the three communities would develop and jointly operate a water treatment plant.
During the open house, representatives of each community met with residents and explained the local need for an alternative water source.
Yorkville City Administrator Bart Olson said that part of the discussion includes the possibility that the three communities will not come to the same conclusion and choice.
“That’s a part of the discussion that we’re talking about and thinking about,” Olson said. “I think everybody kind of agrees that we would prefer it to be a regional solution, there’s probably the greatest opportunity there for cost savings and long-term control of the facility.
“Each of us has kind of our own different options, but we’re looking at everything together, everything apart.”
Oswego Village Administrator Dan DiSanto echoed Olson’s sentiments, adding “I’m hopeful that it’s a unified decision.”
Over the past several years, DiSanto said, the three communities have been communicating and coordinating together.
“Decisions are made together; bills, consultants are split together. We meet regularly, we talk regularly, checking each other’s pulses and making sure we’re on the same page,” DiSanto said.
Key considerations for each community include sustainability of the source, quality of the water and permitting, governance and operational responsibility, internal system improvements, timeline of the project and the cost.
Montgomery Village Administrator Jeff Zoephel added to the thoughts, saying, “Even though we’re different communities, our need for a sustainable water supply is the same throughout the communities.
“I think that’s what brings us together. Joining together to do it makes a lot of financial sense; there’s efficiencies in it.”
Information about the sources and history behind the water source issue can be found on the village of Oswego’s website, oswegoil.org.
Cost information for each option will be presented to the Yorkville City Council and Oswego and Montgomery village boards later this fall. Each community is expected to choose their new water source by the end of the year.