Pritzker signs law for Joliet-area water commission

Joliet in talks with six area municipalities on Lake Michigan water project

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker addresses the media during a press conference on Friday, May 7, 2021, at 3835 Youngs Road in Joliet, Ill.

Gov. JB Pritzker has signed the legislation needed to create a Joliet-area commission for Lake Michigan water.

Joliet is in the process of designing a pipeline to bring Lake Michigan water to the city by 2030.

The city is working with six neighboring towns to form a regional water commission to share costs and the benefits of a new water supply.

Pritzker on Thursday signed Senate Bill 280, which establishes the Regional Water Commission Act and enables the future commission to purchase Lake Michigan water from Chicago.

“Every community deserves the safety and security that comes from keeping their water running,” Pritzker said in a news release announcing the signing. “The legislation I’m signing today not only creates a path for sustainable water for families, but it will bring thousands of local jobs.”

Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk in the release thanked Pritzker and area legislators “for making this new water commission law a reality. This will enable us to address our drinking water needs as a region, for the benefit of generations to come.”

State Sen John Connor, D-Lockport, and state Rep. Larry Walsh Jr., D-Elwood, worked on the legislation.

Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant called the establishment of the commission “a critical first step in ensuring that residents of Joliet and the surrounding communities continue to have access to clean water long into the future.”

Joliet in January approved an agreement with the city of Chicago to bring Lake Michigan water to Joliet. The system is being designed to accommodate other municipalities as Joliet works with other towns to create a regional commission.

Joliet so far is the only municipality committed to be part of the commission. Others considering joining are Crest Hill, Shorewood, Channahon, Minooka, Romeoville and Lemont.