Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply / Demand Plan
Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan
CMAP facilitated the work of the Regional Water Supply Planning Group (RWSPG) and led the development of Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply / Demand Plan, published in 2010. Water 2050, a science-based and stakeholder-driven plan for avoiding imbalances between water supply and demand, seeks to ensure that our region's relatively finite water supplies will be available for years to come, even as millions of new residents are expected by mid-century. Water 2050, which is advisory in nature, makes recommendations that are designed to be implemented by a variety of stakeholders within the existing institutional structure of water supply planning and management. Featuring over 240 recommendations, the cornerstone of the plan is a water use conservation and efficiency strategy that can reduce a significant percentage of new water demand. The four broad water use management techniques explored include water use conservation, water rate structures, graywater, and wastewater reuse. Each management technique is outlined in the plan and followed with an integrated set of detailed recommendations aimed at the responsible stakeholders: State of Illinois, CMAP, County governments, and public water suppliers. Water 2050 was used to inform the water and energy conservation recommendations in GO TO 2040.
Addressing water availability in northeastern Illinois involved forecasting regional population, modeling different scenarios of water demand, examining the impact of demand scenarios on water supplies, and identifying demand management and other strategies for addressing potential water shortages. A regional water demand study, Regional Water Demand Scenarios for NE IL: 2005-2050, helped inform Water 2050 by providing three water-demand scenarios: a current trend or "baseline" scenario (CT scenario), a less resource intensive (LRI) scenario, and a more resource intensive (MRI) scenario. Maintaining the status quo could result in an increase in water demand ranging from 36% under the CT scenario to 55% under the MRI scenario by 2050. Only with active intervention (LRI scenario) might the region keep overall water demand relatively flat while population increases as much as 38% by 2050. CMAP is currently updating the regional water demand forecast to reflect recent withdrawal trends as well as CMAP's ON TO 2050 socioeconomic forecast.
Following the completion of Water 2050, CMAP has promoted water conservation and efficiency in northeastern Illinois by providing resources and tools for municipalities and public water suppliers. These include municipal conservation and efficiency plans, water rate guidance, a model water conservation ordinance, and educational materials. Many of these resources have been developed in partnership with Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the University of Illinois-Extension or as part of the CMAP Local Technical Assistance program. In addition, CMAP, the Metropolitan Planning Council, and others are currently working 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. In 2015, CMAP convened two meetings of a Water 2050 Regional Forum to discuss regional water supply planning and management issues, provide input and guidance to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources or other agencies on water-related issues, and discuss Water 2050 implementation and its eventual update. Learn more here.