Referendum proposed to preserve groundwater

By Matthew Rainwater

DeKALB | The Alliance for Land, Agriculture and Water (A-LAW) – made up of DeKalb, McHenry and Boone counties – has proposed a referendum to create a new water authority.

If voters pass the referendum on the April ballot, the proposed Kishwaukee Valley Water Authority will be able to regulate new high-capacity wells for residential, municipal, industrial and commercial users.

This would help protect important groundwater areas and monitor and conserve the groundwater.

Existing wells would not be affected.

Late last year, A-LAW collected more than 1,600 signatures from area registered voters to establish a petition for a referendum.

These signatures and petition were filed Nov. 17, 2006, at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore.

Water authorities exist throughout Illinois, mostly around the central region.

Mike Richolson, the DeKalb County Farm Bureau’s USDA district conservationist, said the concept for the Kishwaukee Valley Water Authority is good because this group formed to protect the aquifers in the region. It would have a say about where the water should go, instead of having the water go to a different county.

“Until now, Illinois didn’t have the concept of water conservation,” Richolson said. “People don’t really think about water like that, unlike other natural resources.”

More research is needed to know if there’s enough groundwater to last for generations to come, he said.

Benjamin Kernley, a DeKalb County resident who’s been following the proposed Kishwaukee Valley Water Authority proposal, said he agrees with A-LAW’s plan because it’s a step toward a better future for the county.

“I feel that the suburbs have taken up so much water in the past,” Kernley said.

“It’s a simple plan for the future, helping protect the water supply and keeping it close, instead of having all the water go into the suburbs and elsewhere.”