Lake Zurich FAQ
In June of 2023, the CLCJAWA Board of Directors and the Village of Lake Zurich Board adopted a joint resolution Expressing the Intent of the Adopting Entities to Work Towards a Membership Expansion of CLCJAWA with the Village of Lake Zurich. This came after years of discussion and following engineering studies by both CLCJAWA and the Village of Lake Zurich. 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.
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Why should 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:
The existing treatment facilities and pipelines have adequate capacity to provide water, we simply get more use from what we already have.
Additional operation & maintenance costs for new customers is marginal.
New customers must pay capital buy-in fees. These fees offset major repair and replacement costs that existing members would otherwise have to pay for themselves.
Adding customers comes at no cost to current members. New customers must pay for any and all related costs required to connect to CLCJAWA's existing system.
Why should Lake Zurich choose CLCJAWA?
Answer: There are several reasons.
CLCJAWA provides Lake Zurich the opportunity to be a Member of an award-winning water treatment organization located in Lake County. Membership is forever. This is different than negotiating a contract with a Cook County utility. A contract is for a fixed period, its renewal terms are subject to the politics at the time. And negotiating a new contract is difficult because the pipeline that is built to the contract water supplier, is not easily moved. This leaves little negotiation leverage.
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 Members face the changing environmental and regulatory landscape together, rather than on their own.
CLCJAWA's water rates are less expensive than other Lake Michigan options.
What is CLCJAWA'S current wholesale water rate?
Answer: For the year ending May 2024, the rate is $1.80 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.
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.
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.