Rethink Water

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Did you know the City of Joliet needs to find a new water source?

The City of Joliet draws its groundwater supply from 21 deep wells and 5 shallow wells located throughout the City.  Alternative water supplies for the region have been studied since the 1960s.  A 2015 study completed by the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) of the sandstone aquifers in Northeastern Illinois identified decreased groundwater levels. Based on updated modeling completed in 2018 the aquifer suppling Joliet’s wells will not meet maximum day demands by 2030. Therefore, the City urgently needs to begin preparations for an alternative water supply to replace the City's reliance on deep well aquifers. 

Along with the urgent need to identify an alternative water source comes the possibility for opportunity. As the third most populous city in northeast Illinois, Joliet has the ability to lead the way in sustainable water sourcing throughout the region. It is the combination of urgency, innovation, and opportunity that places our city on the precipice of meaningful change.



A key planning tool for the Joliet Alternative Water Source Program is a public outreach program to facilitate communications between the City, the public, businesses, other municipalities, Will County, and other stakeholders. A Public Relations Plan has been developed and serves as a blueprint for defining the outreach tools and methods that will be used throughout the Program to educate and engage stakeholders.

Public involvement will be an ongoing process from study initiation through completion of construction of a new water source. Various outreach methods will be utilized throughout the process to provide involvement opportunities to all stakeholders. Rethink Water Joliet representatives will be at local events and festivals this summer to provide Study updates and information on water conservation. 

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How much do you know about our current water situation?  Click here to take our citizen survey

¿Cuánto sabes sobre nuestra situación actual del agua? Haga clic aquí para tomar nuestra encuesta



In August 2018, the City initiated an alternative water source study.  The study is being completed in two phases.  Phase I, which was completed in January 2019, evaluated 14 alternative water sources for water quality and sufficient water quantity for the City’s and region’s current and future needs.  Proposed alternate sources included Lake Michigan, Kankakee River, Des Plaines River, Fox River, Illinois River, Mt. Simon aquifer, and aquifer recharge.  Viable alternatives identified in Phase I were moved forward to Phase II for a more in-depth analysis which will evaluate reliability, regulatory considerations, governance, jurisdiction, control and risk.   The anticipated cost of water for each option will also be identified. The five alternative water sources being evaluated during Phase II include:

  • Illinois River
  • Kankakee River
  • Lake Michigan – City of Chicago
  • Lake Michigan – DuPage Water Commission
  • Lake Michigan – Southland Water Agency


Phase II will be completed by the end of 2019 at which time an alternative water source will be selected. To review the Phase I report, click HERE.



The Alternative Water Source Study is being led by staff of the City of Joliet with oversight from the Joliet Environmental Commission and support from the Joliet Water Conservation Subcommittee. 

A consultant team led by Crawford, Murphy & Tilly (CMT) has been retained by the City to complete this work along with a team including Engineering Enterprises, Inc. (EEI), Images, Inc., and Stantec.


Environmental Commission

The Commission is made up of eight members appointed by the Mayor. They are actively involved in the process of determining an alternative source of water for the City. They will take their recommendation for the City’s main water supply to the full City Council for approval. The Commission meets on a regular basis on the second Tuesday of the month at 4:30 at Joliet City Hall.  These meetings are open to the public. 

CLICK HERE for past meeting presentations.

Visit the City of Joliet website for meeting agendas and meeting minutes


Water Conservation Subcommittee 

A Subcommittee of the Environmental Commission, this group consults with experts and develops ideas for water conservation to be presented to the Commission. Two programs for water conservation have already been developed – the rain barrel subsidy program and the low flow toilet replacement program.  For more information on these programs visit our Programs and Projects page. The Subcommittee meets on a regular basis on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 3:00 at Joliet City Hall.  These meetings are open to the public. 




 Joliet Department of Public Utilities

For after hours emergencies please call: (815) 724-4220
Office Hours: 8 am – 4:30 pm Monday – Friday
Phone: (815) 724-4220
Fax: (815) 723-7770

Have a question or comment about the Rethink Water initiative? Please send us an email.






¿Cuánto sabes sobre nuestra situación actual del agua? Haga clic aquí para tomar nuestra encuesta de ciudadanos