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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

A $1.4 billion budget was approved to continue the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s (MWRD’s) work to transform wastewater into clean water, mitigate flooding, recover resources, protect public health and area water resources, and invest in innovation to improve water quality and lower carbon emissions. 

President Steele signing 2024 budget
MWRD President Kari K. Steele signs the adopted ordinances authorizing the levy of taxes that will allow the MWRD to deliver its critical services in 2024

The MWRD Board of Commissioners formally adopted the budget on Dec. 21. The budget is supported by a total tax levy of $693.7 million that affords the MWRD the resources to serve 5.19 million residents living in Chicago and 128 surrounding municipalities. 

“We have adopted a fiscally responsible and transparent budget that allows us the resources to protect diverse and resilient Cook County communities that rely on our services around the clock,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “We thank the taxpayers for their trust and support to put these critical resources to work each day in completing our important mission.” 

Approximately 61.4 percent of the 2024 appropriation is supported by property tax receipts. The 2024 estimated tax for MWRD services for a $100,000 home is $103.23. The 2024 Budget prepares the MWRD for persistent inflation, demand for construction materials, and increase in the budget for chemicals, reflecting both higher costs and operational needs for changing permit conditions. The MWRD has been able to weather these financial challenges through steady revenue streams. In 2024, the MWRD anticipates more than $100.0 million in revenue through land rentals, user charge, and interest income across all funds. 

The $1.4 billion budget includes the Corporate Fund appropriation of $497.3 million and the Capital Improvement Program, a $495.4 million plan which includes a Capital Improvements Bond Fund, Construction Fund, and Stormwater Management Fund, including stormwater capital projects and stormwater partnerships. 

In addition to various infrastructure upgrades at MWRD facilities, the MWRD in 2024 will continue investing in local stormwater management partnerships and green infrastructure while also addressing regional projects like the Addison Creek Channel Improvements and the Robbins Heritage Park and Midlothian Creek Restoration, each of which has benefited from federal support. In 2024, the MWRD will also advance its work to study carbon management, emerging contaminants, energy neutrality and nutrient reductions in the Illinois River Basin with partners from the agricultural sector. 

The MWRD’s budget also places emphasis on fulfilling pension obligations. The MWRD in 2024 will make a supplemental contribution of $42.8 million from Corporate Fund budgetary reserves to the Retirement Fund to maintain the funded ratio. The MWRD will also continue to fund $5 million annually to the OPEB (Other Postemployment Benefits) Trust Fund.

"The 2024 budget invests in infrastructure modernization and new technology to help us meet our mission in protecting our water environment,” said MWRD Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos. “Proactive fiscal management gives us the opportunity to improve area water quality and address stormwater management capital projects.”


Commissioner Spyropoulos signing 2024 budget
MWRD Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos signs budget documents on behalf of the Committee on Budget and Employment.

The budget was prepared within the framework of the MWRD’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, which established a blueprint for the MWRD to follow in meeting its mission of protecting public health and the region’s water environment. 

Board of Commissioners at budget meeting
MWRD’s Board of Commissioners celebrate passage of the 2024 Budget. Front row (L-R): Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos, Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn, President Kari K. Steele, Commissioner Precious Brady-Davis, Commissioner Eira L. Corral Sepulveda. Back row (L-R): Commissioner Yumeka Brown, Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia, Commissioner Cam Davis and Commissioner Daniel Pogorzelski.

Driven by the Strategic Plan, the MWRD in 2023 adopted a climate action plan and environmental justice policy, launched a Strategic Plan dashboard, and earned credit rating upgrades. Under the Strategic Plan, the MWRD in 2024 continues its vision of resource recovery, sustainability, resilience, and innovation, investing more than $13.6 million in Strategic Plan goals that include resource management, stormwater management, workforce excellence, community engagement and enterprise resilience.  

In 2023, Fitch Ratings reaffirmed the MWRD’s AAA credit rating, and Moody’s Investor Services upgraded the MWRD’s credit rating to Aa1. Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings also upgraded the MWRD’s credit rating from AA to AA+ in late 2022. Additionally, the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) recognized the MWRD with a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 48th consecutive year.

Established in 1889, the MWRD remains an important leader in protecting public health and the region’s water environment. Over 134 years, the MWRD has taken on critical engineering tasks, such as reversing the flows of the Chicago and Calumet rivers, building seven water reclamation plants and the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP), considered one of the nation’s largest public works projects to address water pollution and flood control. Today the MWRD treats about 1.2 billion gallons of wastewater each day, while managing water impacted by the effects of climate change. The MWRD keeps 76 miles of waterways healthy and navigable, owns and operates 34 stormwater detention reservoirs to provide regional flood protection and invests each year in dozens of local stormwater management projects, partnerships and initiatives.

Aerial view of Robbins Heritage Park
The MWRD’s 2024 budget will allow work to continue on the estimated $25 million Robbins Heritage Park and Midlothian Creek Restoration Project to address overbank flooding, restore the creek and create new opportunities for the community.
Press Release
Financial Information

Established in 1889, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.


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