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Water

Water resources play an essential, yet often overlooked, role in sustaining economic prosperity and environmental health in our seven-county region. CMAP led development of Water 2050, the official water supply/demand plan for northeastern Illinois, and is also the delegated authority of the region's Area Water Quality Management Plan.

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Though Lake Michigan provides clean and affordable water, the lake's capacity to serve the region's need is restricted by law. Other groundwater dependent parts of the region face less certain supplies over the long term, water quality challenges, and environmental side effects in some locales from over pumping. Thus, conservation and efficient use of water is a top priority for GO TO 2040.

GO TO 2040 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. CMAP's role in planning for water resources is linked to implementation of the Water 2050 plan, which was produced in 2010 in conjunction with the Regional Water Supply Planning Group. It is the official water supply/demand plan for an 11-county planning area -- the CMAP region of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will, along with Boone, DeKalb, Grundy, and Kankakee counties.

Water resource planning at CMAP generally falls along two tracks: water quality management and regional water supply planning.  Regarding the former, work is enabled by the Clean Water Act with public funds programmed through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's Bureau of Water and channeled to CMAP for our watershed planning, volunteer lake monitoring program, facility planning area review process, and other work that supports Clean Water Act related activities in the region.  CMAP's work in this area falls within its Areawide Water Quality Planning role, a responsibility delegated by the State of Illinois to the regional planning agency that dates back to the 1970's.   
 
The Chicago region has a long history of involvement in regional water supply planning; CMAP more recently facilitated the work of the Regional Water Supply Planning Group and in March 2010, published Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply / Demand Plan.  Water 2050 is a science-based and multi-stakeholder driven plan for how best to avoid imbalance between water supply and demand as millions of new people are expected to join the region by mid-century.  Featuring over 240 recommendations, a plurality of which are aimed at public water suppliers, Water 2050 is purely advisory and thus, support for implementation efforts is needed.  These recommendations are also featured in the water and energy conservation section of GO TO 2040.
 
CMAP followed the publication of the regional water supply plan by developing a program for Water 2050 implementation support.  During this time, CMAP created resources and programs, some of which were developed in partnership with Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the University of Illinois-Extension.  Resources and programs for public water suppliers, elected officials, and others can be accessed from this page.  In addition to a range of CMAP reports on water, the agency also produced a model water conservation ordinance.  
 
CMAP and our many partners throughout the region are currently working together with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Office of Water Resources on reimagining a more robust state and regional water supply planning and management program.  The historic drought of 2011-12 made clear how vulnerable Illinois water users are to the lack of an active and effective state/regional structure for water supply planning and management.       
 
As our region grows, it is critical we continue to conserve the limited resources we have. GO TO 2040 supports an integrated approach to water resources planning. This involves actions that protect and enhance water quality and quantity at all parts of the water cycle.
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