A new report says Evanston residents pay the third lowest rate for water among 162 communities that draw their water supply from Lake Michigan.

The Chicago Tribune survey cited Evanston’s 2017 rate of $13.71 for 5,000 gallons, but noted that that rate has increased 17 percent since 2013.

Evanston’s proposed city budget calls for another 7 percent increas in water rates for 2017, but promises to completely offset that increase with a corresponding reduction in sewer rates.

The survey also notes that Evanston reports a very low percentage of wasted water — water leaking out of pipes before it gets to customers. Evanston’s waste level was 2.3 percent, compared to a state standard of 12 percent.

Skokie, which buys its water from Evanston and which is fighting a proposed increase in the wholesale rate Evanston charges it for water, now charges its residents $29.97 for 5,000 gallons, a rate that has increased 25 percent since 2013.

Skokie also has a higher percentage of water supply lines that are over 61 years old — 88 percent, compared to 65 percent in Evanston.

The Tribune report says some towns are mismanaging their water systems, charging excessive rates while wasting huge amounts of the water they pump, and that the problem tends to be most severe in towns with a high percentage of poor and minority residents.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Water Rates Potentially Misleading

    I think the use of water rates in this article could be misleading since our water bills also cover sewage and trash pick up.  I am a long time Evanston resident but lived in Skokie for a year in 2015.  During that year, we lived in a similar sized house to our Evanston homes over the years.  However, our Skokie water, sewage and trash bill was less than half of what we pay in Evanston and that included trash pick up twice a week.  The bill was so low and infrequent that we kept waiting for another bill to arrive and were anxious when we closed out our Skokie account that we would have a large unpaid balance.  None of that happened as Skokie just had a much lower collective rate on water, sewage and trash.  This is just a long way of saying that my experience is that Skokie “water” bills are much lower than Evanston.  So use the water rate per 5,000 gallons with caution.  Thanks.

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