Evanston officials have lined up four municipalities and two water authorities interested in exploring the cost of expanding Evanston’s water service.

The City Council will be asked tonight to approve funding for an engineering study to explore the cost and feasibility of expanding the city’s water system to serve additional communities.

City staff says the total cost of the study is expected to be no more than $150,000, with each agency involved to be charged no more than $30,000.

The proposed participants in the study are the cities of Des Plaines and Park Ridge, the villages of Lincolnwood and Niles and the Northwest Water Commission and the Northwest Suburban Municpal Joint Action Water Agency.

Several communities that now get water service from Chicago have expressed interest in getting water from Evanston since Chicago announced rate hikes that will sharply increase costs to $3.82 per thousand gallons by 2015.

Evanston already provides water to the Village of Skokie and to the Northwest Water Commission.

The study would determine the size, potential route, construction methods and preliminary construction costs for a transmission main to supply water to the additional communities.

If aldermen approve, the plan is to issue a request for proposals next month and have the governmental units approve the selection of the firm and the actual costs in June.

The engineering firm would provide a final report by the end of the year.

Some of the other local governments have already approved a memorandum of understanding to move forward with the engineering study, but what city staff describe as “some minor negotiations” are required for others to sign on.

Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz has said that he sees expansion of the water distribution system as a way for the city to increase its revenues without creating additional burdens for local taxpayers.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Pipes to carry the water

    Evanston has had sewer problems for years that increasing water bills have had to cover.

    Does Evanston have similar problems with the infrastructure to carry water to homes/businesses ?

    While selling water to other towns would sound like a good idea, given all the protests about using Lake Michigan water, enviornment effects, etc. and certainly politicians from communites not served by Lake Michigan telling their legislator to vote 'No' either from enviornmental reasons or costs to them [clearly the State will be called in for funding or at least bond assurances]. Surely Chicago would fight anyone taking any existing revenue from them.

    But what about the added infrastructure in Evanston to carry all that water ?  I'd assume we did not originally build pipes for that load—if we did the politicians burdened us for years with that added cost.  Would we have to have multi-year tearing-up streets to install new pipes ?

    Even if it could prove to be 'profitable' in the long-run [10 years ? 20 years ?] the capital costs are in the present and Evanston does not have extra to spend.

    I'm not against it but given the track record of the Council and other Evanston government—not to mention the County and State poor economic planning—I'd expect them to create another boondoggle.

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