Water 2050 Programs
As outlined in the Water 2050, CMAP is offering assistance to the northeastern Illinois region to ensure that all water users (residents, businesses, and the environment) both now and in the future have a clean and reliable water supply regardless of source. One strategy toward reaching this goal is through system efficiency and targeted conservation.
CMAP's Water 2050 Implementation Programs are intended for public water suppliers and municipalities that are interested in pursuing system efficiency and targeted conservation. This initiative includes a variety of programs and informational webpages featuring water efficiency and conservation strategies.
Lawn to Lake
As part of implementing Water 2050, CMAP partnered with Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant on the Lawn to Lake program promoting healthy lawn and landscape practices in the Great Lakes region.
Lawn to Lake worked with the Northwest Water Planning Alliance (NWPA) and the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) to adapt the Lawn to Lake Sustainable Lawn & Landscape Practices for Communities guide. The adapted guide provides additional sections on lawn watering restrictions recently endorsed by the NWPA, as well as complementary outdoor water conservation tools.
With funding from the U.S. EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, this pollution prevention campaign enables communities to achieve significant water conservation benefits from reduced lawn watering requirements, as well as reduce the amount of polluted runoff.
If you would like to commit to being a part of this effort through your lawn care practices, you can take Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant's Lawn to Lake pledge. In addition to the pledge and manual, a suite of outreach cards for use at public outreach events is also available:
Conservation and Efficiency Planning
Creating a water conservation and efficiency plan provides direction (i.e. water conservation/efficiency goals) and specific programs (e.g. toilet rebate, lawn watering restrictions, etc.) for meeting those goals. Public information and outreach will be necessary while drafting the plan and also while communicating the plan's goals and programs once the plan is complete. Choosing what programs to incorporate should reflect the current conditions of the service area, have sufficient water savings potential to accommodate a community's goals, and have a locally appropriate cost/benefit balance. Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan (pages 91-124) has a comprehensive guide of potential programs including general descriptions, funding options, and other helpful information.
CMAP has provided water conservation and efficiency planning to two communities in the region through the Local Technical Assistance (LTA) Program. Learn more at the project websites.
What other resources are available on this topic?
Full-Cost Water Pricing
Situated along the shore of Lake Michigan, metropolitan Chicago has benefitted for centuries from an abundance of fresh water. The infrastructure necessary for delivering water and removing wastewater is primarily underground: out of sight and out of mind. Recognition of the status of water infrastructure and the resulting challenges faced by our community water suppliers has been building. At the same time, a new regional understanding has emerged regarding the role of water price in the effective provision and management of our water resources.
The long-range GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan specifically recommends full-cost pricing as fundamental to addressing both the need for investment in water infrastructure and the challenge of accommodating millions more residents in livable communities by mid-century. CMAP, in partnership with Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the University of Illinois Extension, has developed an expert-reviewed manual that explores full-cost pricing as a tool for local decision makers interested in sustainably managing community water supply.
Local governments are the primary investors in water infrastructure in the U.S. Revenues generated by water rates are the primary source of revenue for most community water systems. Setting water rates that recover full costs can contribute to financial resiliency and create enough revenue to maintain the system. Sustainable rates enable communities to meet water demands reliably and safely. Recovering full costs is especially important because poor infrastructure poses one of the top three challenges for northeastern Illinois water utilities and failing infrastructure can impose high costs on communities in terms of damage and inconvenience.
Ordinance Review and Updates
CMAP developed an updated Model Water Use Conservation Ordinance to provide assistance to communities that wish to promote water conservation initiatives. In drafting the model ordinance, staff completed extensive review of relevant literature and water conservation ordinances and regulations nationwide. A panel of experts provided their input to the document during its formative stages. The ordinance addresses indoors and landscape water use in both the residential and commercial/institutional/industrial sectors with consideration to the latest available technologies and state of the art practices in the field. More than an ordinance, this document is a tool that contains commentary, potential water savings, current examples, and resources for further research. By adopting the requirements of the proposed ordinance, communities may achieve significant water use reductions while deferring the need for water infrastructure expansion.
Ordinance review and update is part of CMAP's efforts in implementing Water 2050. In 2011, the Village of Orland Park partnered with CMAP through the Local Technical Assistance program to incorporate water conservation ordinance language within existing regulations. Learn more at the project website.