The Southland Water Agency (SWA) was formed in May 2019 under Illinois statute as a public Joint Action Water Agency, a unit of government, by Intergovernmental Agreement of three original Charter Members: The Village of South Holland, Village of East Hazel Crest and Village of Thornton, all southern suburbs of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois. The Agency leadership structure consists of three Board Members: the Village President (Mayor) of each of the founding charter communities. Each community also appoints a member to the Agency’s Executive Committee, which administers the various day-to-day Agency activities.
The Agency is dedicated to providing a sustainable, high quality and cost-effective supply of Lake Michigan water to the Chicago Southland region in a fair and transparent manner for all of its customer communities, throughout the 21st Century and beyond.
In early 2020, SWA formally began reaching out to surrounding communities to discuss the future of south suburban water supply, and to begin the process of gaining customers for their alternative supply opportunity. Since May 2020, the Agency has executed 50-year water supply contracts whereby multiple Southland communities with total population exceeding 175,000 have committed to take or pay for a lake water supply from SWA, based on their 2025 Lake Michigan water allocation. Community commitments consisted of corporate authorities (Village Boards and City Councils) formally approving 50-year water supply contracts with guaranteed rate structures in return for minor investments based on their 2025 Lake Michigan water allocation, which the Agency uses toward planning, engineering, legal and land acquisition activities for the alternative water supply system that will begin service by 2028.