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Water Rates to Increase in 2012

Water rates were increased effective January 1, 2012.  The new rates will be reflected on water bills received AFTER March 1, 2012.

The new rates are as follows:

Year Rate per Water Unit
(1 unit = approx. 750 gallons)
Bi-Monthly Fixed Charge Meter Size 5/8"
(most common residential size)
2011 (current) $3.30 $3.80 $8.25
2012 $4.13 $4.76 $9.31

Factors Affecting Water Rates

The DuPage Water Commission (DWC) purchases Lake Michigan Water from the City of Chicago and in turn, distributes and sells it to member communities, including Downers Grove.    

The majority of the rate increase is due to the fact that the City of Chicago raised their water rates on January 1, 2012.  The price that Downers Grove customers pay includes a pass-through of the City's increase, as well as an increase for DWC existing debt service payments and planned capital improvements.  Part of the increase also reflects the continued implementation of recommendations from Downers Grove's 2010 Water Rate Study. 

Continued Implementation of Water Rate Study

In 2010, the Village Council approved the Water Rate Study Report, which recommended changes to the water rate structure.  Put simply, the expenses needed to properly maintain the water system were exceeding the water revenues being collected. 

The study cited three main reasons causing the need for change:

  • People are using less water. Water consumption has declined by about 1% annually over the past five years and is projected to continue along this trend in the future.
  • The cost of water is increasing. The price of water that the Village buys from the DuPage Water Commission will significantly increase and is expected to continue at a rate of 10% per year.
  • The water system infrastructure is aging. Large portions of the system have reached their useful life. This includes water main pipes that deliver water to homes and businesses, as well as water towers. A significant investment is needed to avoid disruptions in water service due to failed equipment.

Providing clean, safe and reliable drinking water is a fundamental Village service. Despite the unforeseen and substantial increases in water rates by the City of Chicago, it is important to continue implementation of the 2010 Water Rate Study recommendations to ensure the on-going viability of Downers Grove's water system.

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