Lake Michigan Water
May 19, 2016 Update
Over the past year, we have posted construction updates on the internal water distribution system projects on the Village website. However, it has been a while since we posted an overall Lake Michigan Water project update. In general, there are two components to the project to bring Lake Michigan Water to Wauconda the residents. First, there is an internal system improvement project to facilitate the distribution of the single source of water throughout the community. Second, there is an external project (outside Wauconda) to construct a transmission water main to bring the valuable resource to the village.
The internal project is broken down into three phases. Phase 1, consisting of replacing and improving water mains and installing pressure regulation stations, was completed in 2015 at a cost of approximately $5.1 million. Phase 2 continues this work in 2016 at an approximate cost of $4.2 million. Phase 3 will wrap up the internal improvements in 2017 with some final improvements to the distribution system and the construction of an elevated storage tank for a combined estimate of $4.3 million.
The construction of a transmission main to bring Lake Michigan Water to the community will be managed by the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency (CLCJAWA). In 2015, the agency’s engineers identified the preferred route for the transmission main and began preliminary engineering on the project. Preliminary engineering is expected to be complete in late 2016. In addition, CLCJAWA has begun working on right-of-way and easement acquisition for the external main and has made considerable progress. Construction of the transmission main is expected to begin in 2017 and with completion in late 2018.
As we get further into the engineering for the external main, cost estimates for the project will be provided along with anticipated costs to residents and water customers.
Update: October 7, 2014
On Tuesday, October 7th, the Wauconda Village Board approved an agreement for membership in the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency (CLCJAWA) to secure a supply of Lake Michigan water for the community. Subsequent to this action, the board approved a cost sharing agreement with the Village of Volo to fund the construction of a transmission water main that will bring Lake Michigan water from CLCJAWA to our communities. The agreement with Volo shares the cost of the $25 million transmission main based on a comparison of assessed valuation in both communities.
Internal System Improvements
In addition to the cost of the transmission main, Wauconda will also need to implement approximately $14 million in internal system improvements to effectively distribute Lake Michigan water to the residents. These improvements have been divided into 3 phases over 3 years. The Village is currently completing Phase I of the Internal Improvements and beginning the design of Phase II. More information on the internal improvements can be found on the Village of Wauconda - Lake Michigan Water Phase I Construction website.
CLCJAWA Board of Directors
On Thursday, October 23, the CLCJAWA Board of Directors unanimously approved the Village of Wauconda and Volo’s request for admission as members of CLCJAWA. The CLCJAWA’s Board of Directors is made up of elected officials from the municipalities the agency serves. To finalize the Village’s acceptance into CLCJAWA each respective member of the CLCJAWA Board of Director’s will need to have their Village Boards approve the Wauconda’s admission. This step is anticipated to be completed by the end of December 2014.
Cost to Residents
What this decision mean for individual taxpayers and water users is an increase in water rates. During the public education process for the 2012 referendum, the cost to the average owner of a $200,000 home, using 6,000 gallons of water per month, was estimated to be no more than $43 per month (2012 dollars). Based on financial projections on the implementation of the proposed agreements, the added property taxes, and increases in water rates the Village is able to keep costs to the average resident at or below this monthly benchmark.
Update: August 22, 2014
In July, Berger Excavating Contractors, Inc. began Phase I of the Lake Michigan Water Internal improvements. Phase one of the internal water system improvements consists primarily of water transmission main improvements in the western portion of the Village. These improvements are necessary so that Lake Michigan water can be received at 1 central receiving station and distributed throughout the Wauconda water distribution system without diminishing existing pressures or flows. Under the current well water supply system, water is supplied to the distribution system at 8 separate locations.
A total of approximately 2.6 miles of transmission mains will be constructed as part of Phase 1. The majority of the mains will be 12-inches in diameter. The mains will be installed by both open-cut and trenchless construction methods. Phase I is approximately 10% complete. There are 3 phases of the improvements that will be completed over the next 3 years.
Internal Improvement Process
To find out current information and the status of the internal improvements please visit the Village of Wauconda - Lake Michigan Water Phase I Construction website.
Update: June 24, 2014
Last April, the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency (CLCJAWA) voted to re-open negotiations with the Village of Wauconda to become the supplier of Lake Michigan water for Wauconda and Volo. Work on 2 separate agreements continues in pursuit of the CLCJAWA membership goal.
First, the Villages of Volo and Wauconda are working to put the terms of our conceptual partnership into a formal legal document detailing how the cost of the approximately $25 million transmission main will be shared by the communities. This transmission main is referred to as the “external” project since it will primarily take place outside the corporate limits of either Volo or Wauconda and will be owned by CLCJAWA.
Second, an admissions agreement between Volo/Wauconda and CLCJAWA is being drafted which will put the terms of membership and financial obligations into place. The agreements as a whole and especially the financial components require that each party complete their due diligence with the public finance and legal professionals. The agreements are progressing and it is anticipated that consideration of the documents by the respective boards will occur yet this summer.
Internal Water Distribution System
The Village of Wauconda is also working on improvements to our “internal” water distribution system in preparation for receiving Lake Michigan water. These internal improvements will facilitate the proper storage and distribution of Lake Michigan water within the Village of Wauconda owned system. The Village Board just awarded a $4.7 million contract to Berger Excavating of Wauconda to initiate Phase I of these improvements. Phase II of the internal improvements will likely be initiated in 2015 followed by the 3rd and final phase in 2016.
Assuming that the agreements with our partners and the considerable right-of-way acquisition and construction activity required will progress in a timely fashion, project schedules currently identify 2018 as the potential cutover date when our community could begin receiving Lake Michigan water. There is, however, substantial work to be completed and this projected cutover date will be fine-tuned as we move forward.
Update: April 24, 2014
On Wednesday, April 23rd, the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency (CLCJAWA) Board voted to restart membership negotiations with the Village of Wauconda. “We’re looking to be a good member moving forward,” Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner said after Wednesday’s vote.
Update: March 10, 2014
Since the last update on the Village’s pursuit of Lake Michigan water which was published in early February, staff has been busy in a couple of areas.
First, the Village Engineer is nearly complete with the preparation of the plans, specifications and bidding documents on the infrastructure upgrades for the internal water system (within Wauconda Village limits) to accommodate receiving and distributing Lake Michigan water. We anticipate that the internal improvements will be ready to bid in April or when the water supplier has been identified. The completion of these plans allows the Village to identify areas where easements are needed and to fine-tune our cost estimates for project planning.
Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency
Second, as reported last month with respect to the water supplier, Village Officials have identified CLCJAWA (Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency) as the preferred method of obtaining Lake Michigan water for Wauconda. In pursuit of obtaining this objective, the Village’s project team led by Village Administrator Maxeiner continues to work with our financial consultants to identify the most cost effective way of bringing Lake Michigan water to the Village. Once the financial strategies have been developed, staff will be sitting down with Volo officials to attempt to negotiate a partnership on which we can jointly apply to CLCJAWA to bring Lake Michigan water to our communities.
Update: February 11, 2014
Since the last update on the Village’s pursuit of Lake Michigan water was published last September, there has been progress in a couple of areas.
First, the Village Engineer is in the midst of preparing the specifications on the infrastructure upgrades for the internal water system (within Wauconda Village limits) to accommodate receiving and distributing Lake Michigan water. The internal improvements will be funded primarily through bonds issued in early 2013. The preparation of these plans allows the Village to identify areas where easements are needed, fine-tune our cost estimates for project planning, and enables the Village to be ready to bid the project once the water supplier is identified.
Working with Volo
Second, with respect to the water supplier, Village Officials have identified CLCJAWA (Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency) as the preferred method of obtaining Lake Michigan water for Wauconda and staff is recommending exhausting all efforts in pursuit of this option. Wauconda’s negotiating team led by Village Administrator Maxeiner has met with Volo officials on numerous occasions to discuss opportunities for a partnership between the 2 communities. Following the September 2013 meeting of CLCJAWA in which the Village of Wauconda was initially rejected as a potential member of the Agency, the Village of Volo began identifying and exploring the availability of other options to get Lake Michigan water. Volo worked with CLCJAWA to commission a study of the options available to bring Lake Michigan water to Volo through Round Lake’s utility system. The report on this study has only recently been publicly released and we have not yet evaluated the findings. However, over the next couple of weeks, staff will be reviewing and evaluating our options and will be meeting with Volo again to discuss our opportunities to work together on this project.
Update: September 26th, 2013
Wauconda will continue to move forward in our pursuit of Lake Michigan water. We have been unable to come to terms with one of our water supplier options and will move forward without that option. Our initial estimates have shown that there are other potentially more cost-effective options.
At the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency (CLCJAWA) Special Board meeting Wednesday night, our Lake Michigan Water Planning Team presented our issues and recommendations on how to move the process forward. The intent was to ask for open direct communication in order to move the process forward. We also wanted to communicate our willingness to participate in the route study with Volo so we do not delay their planning efforts. All of our Board of Trustees attended the meeting in support of extending this water supplier option. During the meeting one of the CLCJAWA Board members suggested extending the deadline to join by 30 days and it was rejected. As a result CLCJAWA decided to reject Wauconda as a potential member 8 to 1. This was very unfortunate and disappointing given that we have tried repeatedly to communicate and resolve these issues prior to this meeting.
Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency
CLCJAWA has twice given Wauconda ultimatums to commit to the group as our water supplier in order to foreclose all our other options before we have received the necessary agreements to review. Our Board of Trustees has twice concurred unanimously not to commit to this supplier because there were too many unknown details and it amounted to having to commit before the necessary agreements were made. We want to be clear – this was not solely about recapture. That was 1 item of many in the 5 contracts under the Resolution Agreement that needed discussion. We have tried numerous times to address and resolve these open issues with CLCJAWA. We stand firm and refuse to enter into an agreement that puts Wauconda in a vulnerable financial situation that would span future generations.
What This Means
We will still bring Lake Michigan water to Wauconda. CLCJAWA was 1 of the options, not the only option. Earlier on Wednesday, our Lake Michigan Water Planning Team also met with representatives from the Northwest Water Commission (NWC), another well-established Lake Michigan water supplier. Our planning team has agreed to move forward in our negotiations as potential partners. This option has been a part of our planning process from the beginning. We have revitalized this option over the last few months in order to ensure we find the most cost effective, long-term option to bring Lake Michigan water to Wauconda. As we reported previously to your Board of Trustees, the NWC water rate is the lowest available rate; significantly lower than the CLCJAWA’s water rate. This will translate into savings and stability for our residents.
We thank the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency and its Board of Directors for their efforts to attempt to form a mutually beneficial partnership for bringing Lake Michigan water to Wauconda. We are disappointed that CLCJAWA’s schedule had accelerated by information disclosed to us for the 1st time on Wednesday evening – that Volo’s water wells were taking on sand and that Volo needed to move quickly to Lake Michigan water. We are pleased that Volo apparently has an immediate water option, but we could not sacrifice the potential benefits of the study of the NWC for the pressing needs of Volo.
We will continue to steadfastly work in the best interests of our Wauconda residents in order to bring Lake Michigan water to Wauconda.
The Lake Michigan Water Planning Team
View the September 25, 2013 CLCJAWA Presentation (PDF).
Update: September 14th, 2013
In November 2012, the residents of Wauconda approved a referendum to bring Lake Michigan water to the community. Since that time, a great deal of effort has gone into identifying the best water supplier for the project. The Village Board has been actively involved in providing direction to our Planning Team composed of:
- Mayor Bart
- Trustee Barbini
- Village Attorney Rudy Magna
- Village Engineer Bill Rickert
- Interim Village Administrator/Director of Public Works Brad Fink
The Planning Team has made regular reports to the Village Board on the progress made in identifying a supplier that can best serve Wauconda’s long term water needs at the most reasonable long term cost. The team is currently reviewing evaluation criteria for 2 potential suppliers: Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency (CLCJAWA) and the North West Water Commission (NWWC). After identifying the specific evaluation criteria, the team shared the most recent results with the Board of Trustees.
These criteria included a comparison of connection fees, Executive Board Membership, current and future water rates, construction and long term maintenance costs for the new main transmission line, and the ability to recover a portion of the Village’s construction costs should another community connect to our main transmission line. This future recovery of the Village’s initial investment in a transmission line is known as “recapture.”
Directions to Planning Team
Most recently the Village Board unanimously gave direction to the Planning Team to carry out the following:
- Continue to negotiate an agreement with CLCJAWA that includes the ability to recapture our costs should another community obtain Lake Michigan water through the new main transmission line our residents paid to construct. The potential to institute a recapture in the future may help offset any increases in residential property taxes.
- Develop a presentation to the CLCJAWA Board of Directors that focuses on topics such as:
- The final CLCJAWA Admissions Agreement and Membership Agreement, both of which have not been provided at this time.
- Wauconda’s role and shared cost for the main transmission line route study.
- An agreed upon timeline to finalize the Admissions Agreement, Membership Agreement and the transmission line route study.
- Wauconda’s proposals for connection fees and recapture potential.
- The Village Engineer shall submit a formal Phase I Engineering Service Agreement to plan the Village’s internal improvements necessary to bring Lake Michigan water from the junction of the main transmission line. This Phase I Plan is the 1st of 3 phases to be completed over the next 3 years. The total estimated cost of all 3 phases is $11.2 million. Internal improvements to our water system will standardize our aging water mains, a step that is necessary regardless of the determined water supplier. The ultimate goal is to efficiently deliver Lake Michigan water to the community.
the remaining information is available to complete the evaluation
between CLCJAWA and NWWC, the Planning Team will once again share the
results with the Village Board to help identify the supplier that can
best serve Wauconda’s long term water needs at the most reasonable long
The Mayor and Village Board are committed to keeping residents updated on their progress as we diligently prepare to bring Lake Michigan water to Wauconda. Please watch our website and e-News for future developments.
View the complete September 10th Lake Michigan Water Presentation (PDF).
Update: August 13th, 2013
The Village Board and staff are working hard to finalize its choice for the most cost effective supplier of Lake Michigan Water to our community. On Tuesday, August 13th, the Project Planning Team presented an update at the Committee of the Whole Meeting. The team consists of:
- Mayor Frank Bart
- Trustee John F. Barbini
- Director Brad Fink
- Village Attorney Rudy Magna
- Village Engineer Bill Rickert
The purpose of the presentation (PDF) was threefold:
- Show the magnitude and scope of the process to bring Lake Michigan water to the Village of Wauconda
- Show where we are now in this process
- Share our next step in this process