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Springfield Aldermen Not Ready To Commit To Hunter Lake


A majority of Springfield aldermen last night expressed doubt about an ordinance that would commit to building the second water source known as Hunter Lake. Council members voted down the plan.

The city has long been concerned about finding a way to supplement Lake Springfield.   Recent droughts have added to the urgency.  
CWLP Director Eric Hobbie says regardless of the council’s vote, the city has to pursue a water supply alternative.

“We’ve been cited by the Illinois State Water Survey as an ‘at-risk’ community. Meaning during a 100-year drought, if we have a repeat of the 50’s, we may not be able to supply water to our community.  And that’s not something we can consider," Hobbie said. 

Hobbie says CWLP is working on several studies for the city.  Those include the city’s water consumption habits, an updated cost to build Hunter Lake, and water alternatives like the Havana lowlands and tapping into the Illinois River. 

The Springfield Mayor, Mike Houston,  says once the studies are complete, he thinks Hunter Lake will be the cheapest option. The City would still need state and federal approval before the lake project could start.  

Ward One Alderman Frank Edwards wanted a Hunter Lake commitment.  He says the city has waited long enough. 

"This whole thing started when I was 11 years old. I’m now 63.  We just keep going and going," Edwards said. "It’s like the Energizer Bunny.  And we keep asking the taxpayers to fund study after study after study with no intent.”

The latest studies are expected to be completed later this year. 

Lee Strubinger completed the University of Illinois Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting graduate program and is currently in Colorado.
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