Why The City Of Chicago Just Canned Its Own Tap Water

The Windy City has long been known for its great food, comedy, sports, and beautiful skyline, but a recent promotional campaign launched by Mayor Lori Lightfoot is hoping to add water to the list. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the city of Chicago is releasing 'Chicagwa', a canned Chicago tap water that will be available for free at limited locations around the city. The canned water is meant to highlight the high quality of Chicago's drinking water in honor of National Drinking Water Week.

Chicagwa is packaged in six limited-edition cans designed by local Chicago artists Don't Fret, Kate Lewis, Joey Depakakibo, Langston Allston, Anthony Lewellen, and Elloo. The cans will be available for free starting May 4 at The Wiener's Circle, RealGood Stuff Co., Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen, Dark Matter Coffee, and Kuma's Corner while supplies last. Of course, any Chicagoan can get their eight daily glasses of Chicagwa by simply turning on their taps at home.

In order to help promote the release the City of Chicago also launched an official Instagram page, and website which hosts a humorous promotional video narrated by Chicago historian and TikToker Shermann "Dilla" Thomas.

What makes Chicago's water special

Chicagwa is the latest effort by Lightfoot to highlight the cities drinking water which comes from the neighboring Lake Michigan (via NBC Chicago). "From the beginning of my administration, I've made it a priority to ensure that every resident has access to high-quality drinking water," Lightfoot said in a press release to promote Chicagwa.

The city uses filtered water from the lake as drinking water for 5.3 million residents in the Chicago metropolitan area (via Chicagwa). City of Chicago Department of Water Management Commissioner Dr. Andrea Cheng says that almost 750 million gallons of water are distributed to 42% of Illinois' population through their water management system.

The water is gathered through a series of mechanisms called 'cribs' which collect water from beneath the lake's surface. It's then sent to filtration plants where it undergoes an eight-hour, 10-step purification process. It's then pumped to millions of residents who count on beautiful Lake Michigan for their drinking water every day.

The Chicago Sun Times reported that residents have long bragged about the exceptional quality of their drinking water. In 2010, then Water Management Commissioner Tom Powers mentioned exploring the concept of bottling the water, but admitted it was an impractical idea.

Some residents have critiqued the city for the initiative while many residents struggle to replace lead water lines. The National Resources Defense Council midwest outreach manager Gina Ramirez wrote a response to the initiative stating that residents needed "lead service line replacements, not Chicagwa."