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CMAP commits to address U.S. Freshwater Challenges
Metropolitan Chicago's proximity to Lake Michigan, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, gives the impression of a near-endless water supply. However, the region, like much of the U.S., faces a potential freshwater crisis that could impact the economy, the livability of our communities, and moreif people and their local governments don't make a new commitment to more sustainable-water use. Accordingly, the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread formed an alliance, Charting New Waters, and released a "Call to Action" report last fall to address this potential crisis. On March 8, 2011, 55 new organizations, including CMAP, joined the original 20 participants to pledge support and action to advance recommendations made by the alliance.
CMAP pledges to help address issues of freshwater supply and conservation through its work on Water 2050. Supported by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Illinois State Water Survey, and in conjunction with the Regional Water Supply Planning Group, CMAP produced Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan in early 2010. Water 2050 acknowledges that our region's water resources cannot be taken for granted and addresses a variety of strategies for improved planning, management, and stewardship of water resources. These include:
- Presenting a new paradigm for demand management.
- Stating the case for a need to move toward full-cost of service water pricing.
- Urging self-organization among groundwater-dependent communities for purposes of practicing collaborative management.
- Exploring wastewater reuse, graywater use, and recommending rainwater harvesting.
- Making explicit the link between water quality and water supply.
- Outlining potential tools and ideas for integrating land-use development with water supply planning.
CMAP commits to supporting implementation efforts and achieving the goals of Water 2050 by doing the following:
- Promoting Water 2050 among elected officials and the general public to raise awareness of 21st Century water challenges.
- Staffing and supporting northeastern Illinois' first Regional Conservation Coordinator.
- Hosting a series of public forums to raise awareness and advance discussion of water resource issues that require urgent attention.
- Collaborate with partners in providing technical assistance to public water suppliers.
- Support a new collaborative-management initiative among groundwater-dependent communities that collectively aim to improve awareness, efficiency, and operations to avoid supply and demand imbalances.