Lake Zurich FAQ

On May 24, 2024 Lake Zurich joined the CLCJAWA with the signing of the Lake Zurich Admissions Agreement.  This begins the process of constructing a 7-mile long pipeline to the Village. Water delivery is expected in December of 2028.  On this page we address frequently asked questions we have  received from Lake Zurich residents at meetings, during tours or via email. For more information about the status of this project, please see the Lake Michigan Considerations webpage published by Lake Zurich on their website. 

Don't have time for an in-person tour? 

Here is a four-minute tour of CLCJAWA's world-class facilities. 

Why did CLCJAWA Admit Lake Zurich as a new Member?

Answer:  CLCJAWA's has excess water capacity, even after reserving extra water for its current member communities.  The CLCJAWA Board of Directors desires to  sell that water to lower water rates for their residents and businesses. Rates are lowered for a few reasons:

Why did Lake Zurich choose CLCJAWA?

Answer:  There are several reasons.

Becoming a Member of CLCJAWA means having  a "seat at the table" and having a vote equal to CLCJAWA's existing members. It means a permanent solution to Lake Zurich's water needs. CLCJAWA was founded by its member communities based on the premise that together, they could do better, than what they could do alone.  Not a single CLCJAWA member regrets forming or joining CLCJAWA. Their founding mission has been achieved, to control their own water destiny. 

CLCJAWA is the first water treatment utility of its kind in the United States to win the Drinking Water Excellence Award from the Partnership for Safe Water in 2005 and every year since then. This program was developed by six organizations including the USEPA. It establishes higher water quality standards that water utilities voluntarily set as their own performance standard.  No utility in Illinois has achieved CLCJAWA’s level of performance.

What is CLCJAWA'S current wholesale water rate?

Answer: For the year ending May 2025, the rate is $1.89 per 1000 gallons.

Will Lake Zurich pay the same water rate as CLCJAWA's current member communities?

Answer: Yes, all CLCJAWA Members pay the same water rate, no matter their size or what distance they are from the water treatment plant.

Capital buy-in fees or "connection fees".

Will Lake Zurich pay capital buy-in fees (connection fees)?

Answer: Yes, like all of CLCJAWA's new members. The original CLCJAWA charter members paid property taxes to help fund payment of the original general obligation bonds issued for construction. New members benefit from the infrastructure investment our charter members made. The contracts CLCJAWA members created also stipulate that future new members may not receive a better deal. It is for these reasons that CLCJAWA requires payment of Capital Buy-In Fees. 

How are capital buy-in fees calculated?

Answer:  Capital buy-in fees are calculated by escalating the $2,800 fee charged to CLCJAWA's most recent new members in 2014, to the present time. The value is escalated using the Consumer Price Index - Urban for our region. This value is then multiplied by the number of housing units in a community as determined using the 2020 federal census count plus the number of extraterritorial housing units served by the community. Specifically, Lake Zurich had 7,262 housing units within the incorporated areas of the Village and an additional 90 units outside the Village to be served with water, for a total of 7,352 units. The buy-in payment per unit was $2,973. The total capital buy in payment is $21,857,496.

How are capital buy-in fees paid to CLCJAWA?

Answer:  Lake Zurich and CLCJAWA have agreed to the repayment of fees over a 30-year period at 0.0% interest. 

Why do some members pay less capital buy-in fees than others?

Answer: The simple answer is because communities have different numbers of house units. 

The question of “fairness” in forming CLCJAWA was constant in the late 1980s. Communities close to the water treatment plant argued that it was unfair to pay for the pipes needed to serve more distant members. Communities that had a higher EAV argued that it was unfair to their taxpayers to contribute more into system construction than those communities with a lower EAV. Larger communities thought that their vote on the Board of Directors should carry more weight than smaller communities. Finally, communities closer to the water plant argued that they should not have to pay the same water rate as those further out in the county. 

Because CLCJAWA is ultimately a utility, CLCJAWA's founders kept things simple. One rate for all. Once a community is a member, they're in. No additional connection fees. And when the Board decided to take on new members in the 2010’s, they decided to charge capital buy-in fees for anyone new to CLCJAWA, as described above. 

All communities in Lake County had the opportunity to help form CLCJAWA in the middle 1980s. Some joined when they were small and some joined when they were further built-out. All of them benefit from their decision then, and today. 

Is Lake Michigan a good drinking water source?

Answer: Yes, it is a great drinking water source.  Unlike local aquifers, it is carefully monitored by two contries and its surrounding states and provinces.  Lake Michigan  is part of the Great Lakes that contain 90% of the United States’ fresh water and provide drinking water to 40 million people1 . The lakes are so large that their health is a matter of interest between both the U.S. and Canada. Periodically the two countries publish a State of the Great Lakes Report. Most recently this report was published in 2022.2 The report concludes that the Great Lakes and Lake Michigan in particular, remain a source of high-quality drinking water when treated. It should be noted that the International Joint Commission3, as established in the Boundary Waters Treaty4 of 1910 between the U.S. and Canada, works to assure each government is upholding their commitment to water quality through the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the two countries. 


Can any community take water from Lake Michigan?

Answer: No. A supreme court decree limits the amount of water that the State of Illinois can divert from Lake Michigan. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is tasked with determining how much Lake Michigan water is left to allocate to Illinois communities. Hundreds of suburbs currently use Lake Michigan water and more are seeking allocations every year. Most recently the Joliet area has approved building a nearly 70 mile pipeline from Lake Michigan to their city and others in the area are anxious to join them. Fortunately for Lake Zurich, the Village obtained an allocation several years ago. However, the Illinois DNR can withdraw that allocation if it remains unused and pressure mounts from other communities seeking Lake Michigan water.