Posted on April 08, 2010 4:54 PM
Water 2050 Update, 4-8-10
Progress from CMAP
Water 2050: A Regional Summit. On World Water Day, March 22, 2010, CMAP hosted Water 2050: A Regional Summit to convene regional partners interested in implementing the new Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan. The plan was unanimously approved on January 26, 2010, by the Regional Water Supply Planning Group (RWSPG). Click here to view a full summary of the summit. Deb Stone, deputy director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, offered thoughtful opening remarks on the Regional Water Supply Planning process and the importance of moving forward with plan implementation. CMAP executive director Randy Blankenhorn spoke about the integration of water supply planning and GO TO 2040, the regional comprehensive plan being developed by CMAP. Tim Loftus, project manager for the RWSPG, gave an overview of the planning process and CMAP's current and upcoming plan implementation activities. Read more about the next steps in a new Water 2050 implementation summary booklet.
As a first step toward implementation, CMAP became a WaterSense Promotional Partner to utilize the resources available through the WaterSense program and to be a part of a national and consistent message about water efficiency and conservation. If you are interested in becoming a WaterSense partner, contact Cary McElhinney, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 WaterSense Coordinator at McElhinney.Cary@epamail.epa.gov. Additionally, CMAP staff will receive water rate training and, in the future, will set up training to assist utilities using the Alliance for Water Efficiency Tracking Tool. CMAP has also just released a Model Water Use Conservation Ordinance. This resource includes model ordinance language, commentary for each section, links to current examples, and additional information and potential water savings.
Alliance Dialogue. Tim Loftus was invited by the Clean Water America Alliance (Alliance) to participate in their second National Dialogue on an integrated water policy: What's Water Worth (W3)?. The Dialogue was held in Washington, D.C. on March 25 to 26, 2010. Dr. Loftus was joined by other invited water-resource professionals from around the country to examine the value of water and determine the practical steps needed to ensure that we have sufficient clean and safe water for future generations. A background paper explains the vision of the Alliance and need for a new integrated national water policy that focuses on sustainability. A new report based on the recent two-day discussion is expected in May. Learn more about the Clean Water America Alliance by reviewing the report from their first National Dialogue held last September.
Wastewater committee. A CMAP Wastewater Committee meeting was held on April 7, 2010. Facility Planning Area (FPA) amendments included a request from the Village of Big Rock (Kane County) to create a new FPA and install a new wastewater treatment system. A request from the Illinois American Water Company to expand its Valley Marina Wastewater Treatment Facility in Kendall County, IL from 0.25 mgd to 0.42 was also considered. The Committee voiced a recommendation of support for the Village of Big Rock's request and a recommendation of nonsupport for the Illinois American Water Company's request.
Frankfort receives stormwater award. The Village of Frankfort has received the 2010 "Stormwater Award" by the Illinois Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management. The award recognizes long-term impacts and contributions related to floodplain and stormwater management, like Frankfort's water conservation work in Prairie Park. Frankfort is one of the few communities in the state with a multi-faceted Water Resources Plan.
New watershed plans. CMAP and collaborating members of the Kishwaukee River Ecosystem Partnership developed watershed plans for Beaver Creek (Boone County), the Upper Kishwaukee River (McHenry County), and Lawrence Creek (McHenry County), all subwatersheds of the Kishwaukee River Basin. These plans achieved widespread endorsement by the municipal and county governments involved. As a result, the three watershed plans were the first to be added to the Illinois Water Quality Management Plan (IWQMP). Inclusion of these plans will require a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit or loan applications to be reviewed for consistency with these plans in addition to other elements of the IWQMP.
Greentown. On March 17 and 18, Greentown Lake County was held at the College of Lake County in Grayslake. The event was designed to help create sustainable communities and was attended by mayors, elected officials, public works directors, park district directors, planners, developers, architects, and many others. On March 18, CMAP's Amy Talbot presented on the Regional Water Supply Planning Process and Water Conservation.
Fix a Leak Week. March 15 to 21, 2010, was Fix a Leak Week, sponsored by the EPA. Every year minor household leaks contribute to more than a trillion gallons of wasted water. That's an average of 10,000 gallons a year per household on running toilets, dripping faucets, and other household leaks -- enough to fill a backyard swimming pool. Many of these leaks can be easily fixed and can save homeowners more than 10 percent on their water bills. CMAP staff volunteered at one of the two events hosted by DuPage Water Commission. The events, March 13 at the Itasca Community Library and March 20 at the Westmont Water Department, featured water conservation games with a chance to win prizes like leak detection tablets, shower timers, rain gauges, and more. We look forward to next year's event!
New drinking water quality regulations. The EPA has proposed new water quality regulations to better protect water quality since unregulated chemicals linked to adverse human health impacts continue to appear in drinking water. For example, Atrazine, a common pesticide used in Illinois agriculture, is on the list of chemicals to be more closely reviewed.
Calumet Summit 2010. This year's Calumet Summit, A Call to Connect, will be held on April 27 and 28, 2010 at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Indiana. The last day to register is April 9. The Calumet region includes northwest Indiana, Chicago, and Chicago's south suburbs. The summit's goal is to foster cross-regional collaboration in the bi-state region and to increase collaboration and knowledge among people and organizations working in the region.
EE Week. This year's National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) theme is Be Water and Energy Wise: The Water-Energy Connection. This event is held before Earth Day every year, and this year falls on April 11 to 17, 2010. EE Week is designed to inspire learning and stewardship among students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
AWWA Conference. The American Water Works Association's annual conference will be held in Chicago, Illinois from June 20 to 24, 2010. The Conference brings together peers and professionals to share the latest news and information about the industry.
Lake Michigan Coast Week. The 9th annual Lake Michigan Coast Week 2010 will be held from September 11 to 19 in northwest Indiana. This year's theme is Celebrate Your Coast: Fresh, Water, Fun!, and the goal is to increase public awareness of coastal resources. Event submissions are due by May 1.
Resource workbook: A continuing effort. As part of the recent Water 2050 summit, CMAP produced a resource workbook titled "Water Supply Planning and Implementation Partners." Its purpose is to gather information about any water-related activities or programs that are already happening in our region. The workbook is intended for the conference attendees and other interested parties, such as public water suppliers and local governments. Our hope is that this effort will form partnerships and help facilitate collaboration between organizations with similar goals and projects. If everyone participates, we can create a workbook that accurately captures water planning and implementation activities in our region. For more information, or to submit your own best practices for the workbook, view these instructions. Contact Amy Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
New FPA maps. Under a contract with Illinois EPA, CMAP prepares Facility Planning Area (FPA) base maps and point source tabular accounts for amendments to the Illinois Water Quality Management Plan. CMAP completed revisions to the FPA maps that incorporated FPA boundary amendments through December 2009. In addition to FPA boundaries, these new maps also include the location of municipal National Pollutants Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit discharges, as well as tabular descriptions of each municipal discharge. New maps are available by contacting Dawn Thompson at email@example.com.
Promote the plan. Want to promote the Water 2050 plan in your area, but not sure how? CMAP will provide your organization with complimentary illustrated summary booklets to aid the discussion and cover the major components of plan in an easy and accessible format. Contact Amy Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org with desired quantity.
Pesticides in our water. Consider a pesticide-free lawn this spring, as pesticides applied to lawns can end up in our water supply. A new brochure, Natural Lawn Care for Homeowners, explaining natural, chemical-free lawn care tips was developed by the Safer Pest Control Project with support from Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. To download this brochure, and others relating to water quality, visit www.iiseagrant.org/catalog/products_wq.html.
Water quality scorecard. The EPA released a first-of-its-kind water quality scorecard to help communities in rural, suburban, and urban settings incorporate green infrastructure practices to protect local water quality and improve both the built and natural environment. The scorecard will aid local governments in identifying opportunities to remove barriers and revise and create codes, ordinances, and incentives to better protect water quality. The scorecard provides guidance to municipal staff, stormwater managers, planners, and other stakeholders through a review of relevant local codes and ordinances to ensure that these codes work together to support a green infrastructure approach. The scorecard also provides policy options, resources, and case studies.
Energy rebates. As of March 20, consumers in Illinois received $1.6 million in rebates through the Illinois Energy Star Appliance program. Rebates will no longer be available for HVAC equipment after April 5, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). From April 16 to 25, the appliance portion of the rebate program will provide a 15-percent point-of-sale instant rebate for consumers buying Energy Star qualified items. Don't miss out, more efficient clothes washers and dryers can save water and energy. Read more about the program on CMAP's Recovery blog.
Water in the News
Water infrastructure and water rates. The region continues to confront issues of funding aging water infrastructure improvements. Bond-funding for public water supply infrastructure operation and maintenance has been in the news. Bonds for infrastructure improvements are repaid by real estate taxes or means, thus hiding the true cost of water supply maintenance since bonds prevent maintenance and improvements repayment through water rates. Investor-owned utilities, unable to buy bonds, cover all improvements in water rates. The Neighborhood Star reported on a bond debate in Midlothian, as well as the Oak Lawn infrastructure improvement project.
Water footprinting. The Chicago Tribune ran an opinion piece by Thomas M. Kostigen, author of The Green Blue Book: The Simple Water-Savings Guide to Everything in Your Life. The piece states that, while water efficiency and conservation is important, "the big change... will come when we begin to think beyond the water we see and use." Kostigen notes that most of the water used is ultimately invisible to consumers. For example, it takes the equivalent of 590 cups of water to brew one cup of coffee. It's "time we woke up and started thinking about the ways we use water differently," Kostigen wrote. On a related note, April's National Geographic Magazine is a special edition, Water, Our Thirsty World. It features a world water footprint poster indicating virtual gallons of water consumed in making certain products. You can view the Annenberg Space for Photography's coinciding photography exhibit Water, Our Thirsty World online.
Water resolution. The Southtown Star reported on a resolution to form a water agency between Homer Glen Village and neighboring towns in order to make the current, privately-run water supply system public via eminent domain -- an action coming on the heels of a system water rate increases.
Aging infrastructure. The New York Times also ran a story, Saving U.S. Water and Sewer Systems Would Be Costly, as part of Toxic Waters: A Series About Worsening Pollution in American Waters and Regulators Response, which addresses regions' water aging infrastructure. The article also details the work of the Washington D.C. Water and Sewer Authority general manager George S. Hawkins' continuing push for water rate increases in the face of public opposition. "People pay more for their cell phones and cable television than for water," said Mr. Hawkins. "You can go a day without a phone or TV," he added, "[but] you can't go a day without water." For a look at what can happen when aging infrastructure needs are miscalculated, check out this article from the Digital Journal.
About the Water 2050 Newsletter
egional water-resource stewardship took a giant leap forward on January 26, 2010, when the Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply Planning Group (RWSPG) unanimously approved a plan that aims to avoid imbalances between water demand and regional supplies. Read more in this press release. Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan was developed over the past three years by CMAP staff with input and guidance from the RWSPG, the Illinois State Water Survey, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The next steps we must take as a region to implement water plan recommendations are equally important. A new commitment to water-use conservation and demand management is the cornerstone of the water plan. Among the attributes of any successful conservation program are political leadership, stable funding, education, and outreach. This Water 2050 newsletter is designed to be one such outreach mechanism. This newsletter will be issued on the second Thursday of every other month. This will be a means to communicate newsworthy items, share valuable resources, and promote ongoing and diverse efforts around water resources planning and management, both at CMAP and throughout the region. We are interested in your water news! This newsletter will feature local examples of water planning and conservation, so please contact Justine Reisinger (email@example.com or 312-386-8802) with your news and examples.