Evanston's water treatment plant (Image from cityofevanston.org)

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The City of Evanston and Village of Skokie are planning to enter into new long-term water contract through which Evanston will continue to supply Skokie homes and businesses with Lake Michigan water. The Skokie Village Board will consider the new contract at its April 19 meeting, and the Evanston City Council will consider the matter at its April 26 meeting.

Through the new contract, Evanston will continue to supply water to Skokie directly from the Evanston Water Plant, as has occurred since 1941 when the two communities entered their first water supply contract. Since then, Skokie has continuously purchased treated water from Evanston to serve both residential and commercial users. The previous contract expired in 2017, and after a mediated negotiation process, both communities are pleased that this important cooperative initiative will continue with approval of the new contract.

“The Village of Skokie is grateful for our long-standing partnership with the City of Evanston through which we are able to purchase and deliver water to Skokie residents and businesses,” said Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen. “Evanston’s meticulous oversight of water quality and the integrity of the system provide our community with a reliable source of high-quality water. Further, the new contract provides this important service at reasonable rates and includes carefully defined terms for rate increases which will serve the Skokie community for the next generation.”

Skokie’s initial wholesale purchase rate to Evanston is set at $1.26 per 1,000 gallons, an increase from $1.09 per 1,000 gallons paid per the previous contract.

In September 2017, the City of Evanston filed a complaint seeking a ruling that Evanston could charge Skokie $2.06 per thousand gallons of water. When negotiations broke down, Skokie said its preferred charge was $.70 per 1,000 gallons of water. A story on the suit between the two communities can be found here. The new contract resolves the lawsuit, the City said.

This new rate of $1.26 per 1,000 gallons was achievable “due to good faith negotiations between Evanston and Skokie as well as increased economies of scale made possible by Evanston recently adding several neighboring communities as new water supply customers,” the City said in a press release. The new 20-year contract term may be extended for up to two additional 10-year terms.

“Evanston and Skokie share much more than a border – we share a decades-long partnership that has benefitted residents of both of our communities,” said Evanston Mayor Stephen Hagerty. “This new contract ensures that Skokie residents and businesses will continue to receive safe, clean, reliable and affordable drinking water from the City of Evanston, as they have for nearly 80 years, while ensuring Evanston taxpayers are fairly compensated for the substantial costs of providing this essential service. The City of Evanston looks forward to continuing to serve the Village of Skokie as our valued water customer, and a continued close relationship between our communities in the decades to come.”

The new contract also provides Evanston access to the Skokie Fire Department’s training tower in exchange for Evanston continuing to operate, control, and provide records for Skokie’s water pumping stations. The communities often collaborate on numerous other mutually beneficial initiatives, including founding memberships in the Chicago’s North Shore Convention & Visitors Bureau, which over the past two decades has brought tourists and resulting tax revenues to the area that benefit residents of both communities.