After a century of using more water than can be replaced, northeastern Illinois’ deep sandstone aquifers are declining. That’s why the Northwest Water Planning Alliance (NWPA) came together in 2010 to protect and plan for shared river and groundwater resources in DeKalb, Kane, Kendall, Lake, and McHenry counties, working on behalf of more than 80 municipalities to ensure a sustainable water supply.
NWPA has served its area for more than a decade, but one important question remains: how much water can the region use and still have enough for future generations?
Later this year, the Illinois State Water Survey will release sustainable yield values for each water source by county. This data will, for the first time, identify the amount of water that can be withdrawn from each water source sustainably.
With support from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) has partnered with NWPA and the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant to develop a water supply sustainability plan. The plan will use the yield values to develop a water supply sustainability goal and recommend ways to establish a path toward long-term sustainable water use. Potential recommendations may include reducing water loss, metering with volumetric rates, reusing water, as well as retrofitting plumbing and upgrading appliances to water-efficient models.