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Water

Abundant and high quality water resources play an essential role in sustaining economic prosperity and environmental health in our seven-county region. While Lake Michigan and groundwater aquifers currently provide clean water, their capacity to serve the region's needs is not limitless. In addition, many of the region's waterways have been degraded by development practices that have disrupted the natural water cycle. 

 

 

 

Water Updates

All Updates  

April 21, 2015

Stormwater utilities for local governments

Communities in the Chicago region face increasing challenges in managing stormwater, but funding for capital improvements is scarce.  The Value of Stormwater Utilities for Local... Read More About Stormwater utilities for local governments
April 14, 2015

Model water use conservation ordinance

Recommendations from GO TO 2040 and Water 2050 emphasize the importance of water use conservation in all sectors to maintain the demand at levels that are comparable to supplies. ... Read More About Model water use conservation ordinance
April 7, 2015

Input from municipalities can help improve State Revolving Fund

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, and MPC are exploring ways to improve access to the State Revolving Fund (SRF) for water and wastewater... Read More About Input from municipalities can help improve State Revolving Fund
April 7, 2015

April Water 2050 Regional Forum

CMAP, in partnership with the Metropolitan Planning Council, will host the next meeting for the Water 2050 Regional Forum on April 16, 2015, at 10:15 a.m. at CMAP offices (233 S. Wacker Drive,... Read More About April Water 2050 Regional Forum
March 16, 2015

Muni-Blast, 3-16-15

CMAP's quarterly "e-blast" newsletter for metropolitan Chicago's 284 municipalities briefly highlights local planning resources that can help communities implement livability recommendations ... Read More About Muni-Blast, 3-16-15
November 25, 2014

Public input on IL Route 53/120 corridor land use plan

Thanks to all that participated in the IL Route 53/120 Corridor Land Use Plan open houses in Grayslake and Lake Zurich this November. Read More About Public input on IL Route 53/120 corridor land use plan
October 30, 2014

CMAP Muni-Blast, 10-30-14

The latest newsletter features highlights from the 2014 biennial municipal survey. Read More About CMAP Muni-Blast, 10-30-14
October 9, 2014

GO TO 2040 updated in accordance with federal law

Please visit www.cmap.illinois.gov/2040 for all GO TO 2040 plan materials. Read More About GO TO 2040 updated in accordance with federal law
July 24, 2014

CMAP Muni-Blast, 7-24-14

CMAP's quarterly "e-blast" newsletter for metropolitan Chicago's 284 municipalities briefly highlights local planning resources that can help communities implement  livability... Read More About CMAP Muni-Blast, 7-24-14
July 15, 2014

Community planning proposals

CMAP received 104 applications were submitted by 77 different applicants to the LTA program. Read More About Community planning proposals
June 13, 2014

Draft GO TO 2040 plan update available for public comment through August 1, 2014

Submit comments on-line and attend open house meetings throughout the region for the draft GO TO 2040 plan update and FFY 2014-19 Transportation Improvement Program. Read More About Draft GO TO 2040 plan update available for public comment through August 1, 2014
April 2, 2014

Updating the GO TO 2040 Implementation Action Areas

The GO TO 2040 update process has allowed CMAP to enhance the alignment of plan recommendations with responsible parties to reflect progress and other variables. Read More About Updating the GO TO 2040 Implementation Action Areas
January 31, 2014

Springfield Update on State of the State Address and CMAP 2014 Legislative Agenda and Framework

Legislators convened in Springfield for the second spring session of the 98 th Illinois General Assembly on January 28, 2014.  This Springfield Update discusses the Governor's State of the... Read More About Springfield Update on State of the State Address and CMAP 2014 Legislative Agenda and Framework
January 23, 2014

CMAP Muni-Blast, 1-23-14

CMAP's quarterly "e-blast" newsletter for metropolitan Chicago's 284 municipalities briefly highlights local planning resources that can help communities implement livability recommendations ... Read More About CMAP Muni-Blast, 1-23-14
June 28, 2013

Recap of 98th Illinois General Assembly Spring Session

During the 98 th Illinois General Assembly's spring session that adjourned on May 31, 2013, CMAP followed a broad range of issues affecting residents and communities throughout the region.... Read More About Recap of 98th Illinois General Assembly Spring Session
December 21, 2012

Reports Examine Region’s Growing Infrastructure Funding Needs

Two new reports highlight the growing need for new capital spending in the region and state. In November, the Civic Federation issued a report, " The State of Illinois Infrastructure ," to... Read More About Reports Examine Region’s Growing Infrastructure Funding Needs
November 26, 2012

Water Policy and the 2012 Elections

On November 7, 2012, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) issued a report considering the recent U.S. elections' ramifications for the water sector. AWWA notes that the federal... Read More About Water Policy and the 2012 Elections
May 31, 2012

New Revenues Needed for Natural Resources Work in Illinois

UPDATE: Since first posting this Policy Update, the IDNR Budget Sustainability bill SB 1566 did not receive the required 3/5 vote needed to pass since the bill was called after May 31, 2012.... Read More About New Revenues Needed for Natural Resources Work in Illinois
February 7, 2012

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Approves Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management

In January, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) established new guidelines for implementing its Sewer Permit Ordinance (SPO) to allow the use of green... Read More About Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Approves Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management
January 27, 2012

Proposed Regional Infrastructure Improvement Zones Act

On January 18, 2012, the Regional Infrastructure Improvement Zones (RIIZs) Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would allow private businesses or individuals to... Read More About Proposed Regional Infrastructure Improvement Zones Act
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As the Chicago region grows, it is critical that water and natural resources are conserved and used efficiently. GO TO 2040, the regional comprehensive plan, supports an integrated approach to water resource planning. This involves actions that protect and enhance water quality and quantity at all parts of the water cycle. Water resource planning at CMAP generally falls along three tracks -- water supply, water quality, and stormwater management, though it is clear that water resource planning and management are interrelated. CMAP led the development and coordinates implementation of Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan, which was produced in 2010 in conjunction with the Regional Water Supply Planning Group of regional stakeholders. Water 2050 is the official water supply/demand plan for an 11-county northeastern Illinois planning area -- the CMAP region of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will, along with Boone, DeKalb, Grundy, and Kankakee counties.

As the designated agency for Areawide Water Quality Planning in the region, CMAP is also engaged in a variety of water quality planning activities that include watershed planning, nonpoint source management, wastewater planning, volunteer lake monitoring program, and other work that supports the objectives of the Clean Water Act. CMAP is also working to advance stormwater management and flood prevention by better integrating best practices into land use and transportation planning decisions.

At the national level, Illinois is a party to the Great Lakes — St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (Compact), a binding agreement between the eight Great Lakes states to protect, conserve, restore, improve, and manage the renewable but finite water resources of the Great Lakes Basin for the use, benefit, and enjoyment of all basin citizens. The Compact does not supplant a U.S. Supreme Court Decree under which Illinois' diversion of Lake Michigan is governed. Yet Illinois is obligated to comply with the Compact's water conservation and efficiency programs provision to promote "Environmentally Sound and Economically Feasible Water Conservation Measures." This includes any measures that promote the efficient use of water, application of sound planning principles, and demand-side and supply-side measures or incentives.

Water and GO TO 2040

Water resources play a critical, yet often overlooked, role in sustaining economic prosperity and environmental health in our seven-county region. Though Lake Michigan provides an excellent source of high quality affordable drinking water, the lake's capacity to serve the region's needs is limited by legal constraints that preclude ever-increasing demands on this resource. Furthermore, the infrastructure used to distribute drinking water has seen long-term underinvestment in many places, leading to significant waste of water through leakage. In addition, some parts of the region face increasing expenses, environmental consequences, and potential long-term depletion of groundwater resources. Thus, conservation and efficient use of water is a top priority for GO TO 2040.

GO TO 2040 is informed by the previously developed Water 2050 and thus, recommends a number of actions to better conserve and manage water resources, including a variety of water conservation measures such as using more efficient appliances in homes or using full cost water pricing by utilities. Water conservation goals should be integrated with land use planning, including preservation of open space in aquifer recharge areas and using green infrastructure to manage stormwater, among other activities. Shifting groundwater dependent communities to surface water supplies and consolidating some of the region's water utilities is also recommended by GO TO 2040. 

At the same time, the region is often concerned about too much water, not too little. With broad floodplains and typically clayey soils, northeastern Illinois is flood prone. The increased runoff from impervious areas like roofs, streets, and parking lots compared with farm fields, prairies, and woodlands means that flooding will be worse, since more rainfall will be converted to runoff. Many areas – especially the watersheds of the Des Plaines and Little Calumet Rivers, but others as well – are threatened by flooding, which is exacerbated by historic development patterns and lack of detention storage.

GO TO 2040 calls for integrating land use policies and site planning with water resources and identifies watershed planning as an essential tool to identify water resource problems and evaluate retrofit projects to address them, whether the problem is flooding or poor water quality or loss of habitat. Watershed plans, which often feature the most comprehensive natural resources inventory available for most areas, consider multi-objective projects to reduce point- and nonpoint-source pollution, improve aquatic habitat, and reduce control flooding. GO TO 2040 identifies the need for county stormwater ordinances to not just rely on detention, but also to reduce the runoff volume, as well as make a commitment to using green infrastructure to manage stormwater. The plan also recognizes the need to develop sustainable sources of financing for stormwater retrofits and to provide performance data to stormwater managers.

GO TO 2040 recommends a number of interrelated actions to better conserve and manage water resources, organized by four subject areas:

  • Support water use conservation efforts
  • Integrate land use policies and site planning with water resources
  • Encourage watershed planning and stormwater infrastructure retrofits
  • Optimize water and energy sources and scale of operation. 

 

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