One of our librarians found this small sign in an antique store and brought it to my attention.  Now I’m bringing it to yours.

Does anyone know what this might refer to?  Was it before the village of Schaumburg became a member of the Northwest Suburban Municipal Joint Action Water Agency (JAWA) and began receiving water from Lake Michigan in December 1985?  The village was using a number of wells at the time.  Was there a water shortage in Schaumburg before the pipeline became available?  Or was this restaurant just being environmentally aware?

If this rings a bell with you please leave a comment below or send me an email.  The action by this restaurant is a new one on me!

****************After reading some of the comments, talking to a village board member and doing a bit of research, it seems the water situation in the northwest suburbs was becoming tenuous in the late 1970s due to both the explosion of growth and very dry summers in 1976 and 1977.  An article from the Chicago Tribune of March 20, 1977 says, “A long dry spell has left many suburban water wells unusually low, raising the threat of summer water rationing and strict controls… The state is going into spring with a rainfall 12 inches below normal, and suburban water officials already are talking about drastic action if the drought runs into summer.”

One of Schaumburg’s village board members mentioned that there was an ordinance that was passed in the late 1970s or early 1980s regarding water restrictions, and restaurants were included in that ordinance.  To her recollection–and this was before her time on the village board–it was only in existence for five years or so until Lake Michigan water became available. *********************

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


  1. Larry Rowan Says:

    I remember that the village passed an ordinance requiring all restaurants to stop automatically serving water and to provide it only upon request. I think it was just the “environmental conscience” of the village board, not a water shortage. Neighboring towns did not have the same requirement. It was in effect in the 1980’s but may have started in the ‘70’s. Seems like it is not in effect or not enforced any longer.

  2. randy schallau Says:

    Possibly the 1978 Jimmy Carter water resource conservation act.

  3. Heidi Kerans Says:

    I remember water used to given automaticly at restaurants as a child that changed in late 1970’s 80’s and restaurants and they had signs with similar verbiage. No signs anyore and water only brought if asked for.

  4. Fred Luft Says:

    Until Lake Michigan Water came to Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg, both towns had well water. I remember these signs in restaurants in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s if I remember correctly. During the summer months Water was at a premium.

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