A Northern Illinois lawmaker’s bill could pave the way for Illinois voters to eliminate unneeded water authorities.

House Bill 4371, introduced by Geneva state Rep. Steve Andersson, would allow any of the 17 water authorities in Illinois to dissolve via a referendum.

Andersson told the House Committee on Counties and Townships he introduced the bill after he was approached about an inactive water authority in Sugar Grove. 

“I was contacted by one of my local mayors, where they believe they have a water authority that is relatively inactive,” Andersson said. “They said, can we dissolve it?”

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Under the Water Authorities Act, local governments are allowed to create water authorities but aren’t allowed to dissolve them.

Rep. Andersson said HB 4371 would let voters decide whether a separate water authority is needed.

“It does not dissolve any district. It only allows that to occur if the people of the district deem it appropriate,” Andersson said.

HB 4371 would transfer responsibilities of water authorities, which include regulating the drilling of water wells, to the Illinois EPA or local government. Rep. Andersson said the bill would also address responsibilities of maintaining reservoirs, including the Altamont Reservoir in Effingham.

“We provided in the amendment a mechanism to transfer that to another local government entity that would be appropriate to administer that,” Andersson said. “I think we’ve addressed that concern.”

The bill unanimously passed the House Committee on Counties and Townships and is now in the full House.


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