Alternative Water Source Study 

Alternative Water Source Study


In August 2018, the City initiated an alternative water source study. The study was completed in two phases.  Phase I, 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 evaluated reliability, regulatory considerations, governance, jurisdiction, control, risk and identified the anticipated cost of water for each option.

The five alternative water sources evaluated during Phase II included:

·      Illinois River

·     Kankakee River

·     Lake Michigan – City of Chicago

·     Lake Michigan – DuPage Water Commission*

·     Lake Michigan – New Indiana Intake


*Per a letter dated December 4, 2019 from the DuPage Water Commission, they do not want to be considered as an alternative water source supplier for the City of Joliet.


Phase II was completed in December 2019. At the January 7, 2020 meeting, the City Council selected Lake Michigan water through either a new Indiana intake or the Chicago Department of Water Management. Both options will be assessed simultaneously.   

Phase 1 Final Report

Phase 2 Final Report






Phase I: 

August 2018 – January 2019 – COMPLETE!


  • Stakeholder Engagement and Strategic Planning

  • Water Demand Projections, Groundwater Model Updates, Water Conservation Efforts and Short Term Emergency Planning

  • Evaluation of 14 alternative water source options

  • Identification of viable alternatives primarily based on quantity and quality 


Phase II:  February – December 2019 – COMPLETE!

  • Stakeholder Engagement and Strategic Planning

  • Detailed analysis of 5 selected options (alternatives) identified in Phase I

  • Identification of improvements for each viable alternative and their associated cost

  • Refinement and prioritization of Phase II criteria (control, governance, maintenance, redundancy and risk to schedule)

  • Funding Strategies

  • Selection of alternative water source at completion

  • Draft Report

  • Final Report