Chicago Rural Water Dispute Gains Steam

Dec. 22, 2006

A battle over who will control water in the rural areas and northwest suburbs of Chicago is heating up.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the dispute is about whether or not a referendum should be held April 17 to form a new water authority that would issue water permits to residential and commercial users. The new authority would also have the power to levy taxes.

The proposal still needs to be approved by voters in rural areas of Boone and DeKalb Counties and in rural western McHenry County.

Local farmers have aligned with developers and municipalities, all of whom oppose the establishment of the Kishwaukee Valley Water Authority.

At least three groups have hired lawyers to argue against the agency. Farmers are against the new authority because they worry about the loss of control over their land. Developers and municipalities do not want to deal with another level of bureaucracy.

Supporters feel that the new authority would protect the natural resources and is not intended to stop development.

Only those who live within the water authority's proposed boundaries could vote on the issue. However, opponents feel this method is unfair, because it excludes residents from larger municipalities.

Source: Chicago Tribune