News - Joliet and Will County

Lake Michigan water commission has a name

Grand Prairie Water Commission aims to deliver water by 2030 to Joliet, 5 other communities

The commission created to bring Lake Michigan water to Joliet and five other communities took another step forward recently when it gave itself a name.

The Grand Prairie Water Commission includes Romeoville, Shorewood, Crest Hill, Channahon and Minooka in addition to Joliet.

The name was announced Aug. 18, but the commission still is in the process of being created.

“It’s in its early stages,” said Clarence “CC” DeBold, the mayor of Shorewood and chairman of the commission board that is represented by all communities in the group.

Shorewood

Only Shorewood and Joliet have had allocations of Lake Michigan water approved by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources so far, DeBold said. All allocations are expected to be approved, but it is one of the steps needed before the commission becomes official.

The member communities do have a common 2030 deadline.

“The Illinois State Water Survey has identified the aquifer that all of us are drawing from as not sustainable, and it could be not sustainable as early as 2030,” DeBold said.

Joliet initiated the Lake Michigan water project because of the projection that the aquifer would not be able to meet peak demand for water by 2030.

The six communities have declared their expected water needs at a total of more than 55 million gallons a day by the year 2050. Costs of the system, which have been estimated at between $592 million and $810 million, will be divided based on water usage.

The water allocations declared by the members are listed below by million gallons per day (MGD) at maximum demand.

• Joliet: 32 MGD (57.9% of the total allocation)

• Romeoville: 6.25 MGD ((11.3%)

• Shorewood: 4.8 MGD (8.7%)

• Crest Hill: 4.18 MGD (7.6%)

• Channahon: 4.04 MGD (7.3%)

• Minooka: 4 MGD (7.2%)

The commission has a coordinator – Hugh O’Hara – who also serves as executive director of the Will County Governmental League.

In a news release announcing the Grand Prairie Water Commission’s name, O’Hara called it “a long time coming.”

“Having a sustainable, high-quality water source is essential to our region’s future success, and I applaud these communities for understanding the stakes and working together for the best solution,” O’Hara said.

The city of Joliet is the program manager for the commission, a step the city took to ensure progress continued on the development of the Lake Michigan water system as the commission continued to be formed.

Joliet officials are committed to having Lake Michigan water delivered to city faucets by 2030.

Although the Grand Prairie Water Commission still is being created, its website contains more information at www.GPWC-IL.org.