The City of Darien currently operates a water system that serves both incorporated and unincorporated homes. This system is self sustaining and independent, which means all monies collected from your water bills are applied directly to the costs to provide you with water and pay for the Lake Michigan water we receive from the City of Chicago, through the DuPage Water Commission.
Since 2012, the DuPage Water Commission has increased the price the City of Darien pays for water by 45%. On January 1, 2015 the price again increased by an additional 18%, for a total increase of over 71% over three years. As the City of Darien pays more for water, and the system pays for its own expenses, there is no choice other than to increase the cost to the end user. This increase is not localized to Darien residents; each municipality that relies on this water system has needed to modify their water rate in response to the DuPage Water Commission and City of Chicago increases.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the water rate?
A: Darien residents pay $9.75 for each 1,000 gallons of water used; unincorporated homes pay $11.70.
Q: My water rate seems to fluctuate each month depending on usage. Why is that?
A: There is a fixed charge of $10 for Darien residents and $12 for unincorporated homes. This money accounts for fixed costs to operate the water system, such as operating water towers, installing meters, testing fire hydrants to make sure they work in case of fire, and fixing water main.
Q: Why doesn’t the City of Darien just open up underground wells?
A: There are two main reasons: water quality and supply concerns. The City of Darien originally moved to Lake Michigan water decades ago because the well water contains radium, in addition to other contaminants. It would cost millions of dollars to treat and filter the water, which would also need to be passed on through the water bills. The water would still be of low quality and residents would need to purchase water softening systems, and could have an undesirable color or taste. Additionally, with the expansion of the community, it could be difficult to supply the entire community with enough water.
Q: My water usage has gone up dramatically and I can’t figure out why. What should I do?
A: Drastic increases in water usage may be due to a leak within your home. We can help! Call our water department at (630) 353-8115 and we will have an employee come to your house to help try to check for noticeable leaks, which can often be found in toilets.
Q: Who can I call for additional questions?
A: If you have any questions, please call Assistant City Administrator Paul Nosek at (630) 353-8104.
Tips from the DuPage Water Commission on Conserving Water
Tips Around the Home
A few simple wise water use tips can make a difference in how much water you use.
- windy days. Position sprinklers so water doesn't land on paved areas and run off into storm drains.
- Help soil hold water. Add organic materials such as compost or peat moss. Keep your lawn and garden weed-free. Weeds can rob plants of water and nutrients. Lay mulch three inches deep around trees and plants to retain moisture, slow evaporation, and discourage weed growth.
- Consider installing drip irrigation systems around trees and shrubs. These systems allow water to flow slowly to the roots, encouraging strong, deep root systems. Drip systems also reduce evaporation.
- If you don't have an automatic sprinkling system, use a kitchen timer or buy a sprinkler timer. You can waste a lot of water in a short time if you forget to turn off the sprinklers.