Evanston Public Works Agency Director Dave Stoneback says a new option has emerged for communities seeking to buy water from Evanston.

Stoneback told aldermen Monday night that as an alternative to building a $115 million pipeline from Evanston’s water plan to Morton Grove and Niles, those communities are now looking at tapping into Evanston water through the existing water distribution systems of Evanston and Skokie.

That would dramatically reduce the capital investment required to get Evanston water, Stoneback said, but it would mean higher rates for customers in the two towns, because in addition to buying water from Evanston’s plant, they’d also have to pay both Evanston and Skokie for the use of the existing distribution system.

Stoneback said Evanston would charge about $0.92 per 100 cubic feet for water delivered at the water plant and that with the added cost of the proposed new pipeline the net cost to Morton Grove and Niles would be over $2.

The cost using Evanston and Skokie distribution lines, he added, would push the total cost closer to $3. But that, he said, is still less than the $3.81 rate now charged by the City of Chicago that’s driving the other towns to look to Evanston as a new water supplier.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said that Skokie is faced with a substantial rate increase over what it now pays Evanston for water when its contract comes up for renewal soon. So, Bobkiewicz said, Skokie is trying to amortize that cost by being able to pass on some of the distribution system costs to the other communities.

“Quite a few balls are up in the air,” Bobkiewicz said, “and the stakes are very high.”

In addition, Chicago has now provided some relief to its customers who had been faced with potentially unlimited rate increases in future years. Stoneback says Chicago now is offering communities it serves an assurance that  rate increases over the next 10 years will be no more than the cost of living or 5 percent annually, whichever is less.

Stoneback says Morton Grove is eager to have a plan for new water service in place by the end of this year because its existing water contract with Chicago expires at the end of 2018. Niles has a little more breathing room because its Chicago contract doesn’t run out until the end of 2019.

If an agreement is reached by the end of this year on the water pipeline plan, Stoneback said, design work could start early next year and construction could be completed in 2018.

Park Ridge is also considering joining Niles and Morton Grove in the project to buy water from Evanston.

Evanston officials believe selling water to the additional communities will provide a substantial new source of revenue that will more than cover the city’s cost of providing it.

Ultimately, Bobkiewicz said, “We don’t care how they get the water, as long as it comes from our plant.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Wholesale water – a bargain
    I just did the math and discovered that I’m paying $1.985/100 cu/ft of water delivered (not including the very $$$$ sewer charges – which are approx 2x the cost of the water into my home)… @ $0.92 per 100 cu/ft (wholesale) for Skokie and or Niles – that’s a bargain!

    Respectfully, Brian G. Becharas

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