Wednesday, Nov. 1, attorney J. Dale Berry and Jane Collins addressed the Pomona Grange members in regard to the Kishwaukee Valley Water Authority.
Berry said to the members: There is actual discussion about building a pipeline, not from Lake Michigan east to west, but going west to east from the western part of McHenry County to the eastern side of McHenry. It would not be long before it could continue west into Boone County, taking your water to the east. The possibility exists that the water table could go down as much as 200 to 300 feet. The water authority would have ownership right to the water. As of right now, there is no way to stop this from happening.
Berry added: This statute was created by, and for, farmers. Existing wells are grandfathered in, and small use does not apply. Its really about expanding commercial and high-density developments.
One question posed was, Is there any other established water authority in the state of Illinois, and have they been successful?
According to Collins: There are about 17 since the 1970s that have been established, with the most recent in the late 80s. The water authorities have been very pleased with the results.
Berry said: We have had help from the water association in Illinois with the details and information on how to establish a water authority.
Collins said: In central Illinois by Bloomington and Peoria, a water authority was established for defensive purposes, too. When the City of Pekin wanted to expand with a new well, they had to get a permit from the water authority. Eventually, it was granted, but the water authority was able to set guidelines in regards to the new well. The water authority will use a scientific basis, data supportive approach rather than a waiting to see what happens. During periods of drought, water usage could be curtailed by the water authority. The water authority would be able to set guidelines for usage.
Collins said: The Kishwaukee Valley Water Authority is a citizen initiative rather than a government setup. It gives local control.
Berry said: We have had help from the water association in Illinois with the details and information on how to establish a water authority. There is a board of three trustees that will be appointed by the county board chairmanone trustee from each county. Eventually, it will be an elected position and an agency representing the people.
Mr. Olstad, a member of Pomona Grange, asked about the situation in Caledonia. He said: The village board has just approved a development that would include about 800 homes. Would they be grandfathered in since it was done before the water authority was established?
Berry responded: They would only be grandfathered in if there was an existing use. But, if there was not one, they would be subject to the water authority.
Collins said: If a municipality annexes into an area where a water authority has been established, it does not push the boundaries back. The area annexed would be included in the water authoritys jurisdiction.
To date, the Kishwaukee Valley Water Authority has been endorsed by the McHenry Farm Bureau and the Village of Bull Valley in McHenry County. For more information, call at 1-866-649-9049. Signatures were collected through Nov. 6.
The Kishwaukee Valley Water Authority plans to have a public meeting in Boone County sometime in November. Date, time and location to be announced shortly.
For more information, e-mail A_LAW@onebox.com or mail A-LAW, P.O. Box 1021, Woodstock, IL 60098.
From the Nov. 8-14, 2006, issue