The Chicago region has long relied on Lake Michigan to supply water for the millions of people that call the area home. But growing populations, legal limits on the use of lake water, and unsustainable tapping of deep aquifers present challenges for maintaining a long-term water supply. 

These growing concerns sparked efforts to develop a comprehensive water supply management strategy for the 11 counties in the greater Chicago area. IISG and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) brought economic expertise and outreach leadership to Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan. IISG research, including an overview of water rates in the region, provided critical data for key components of the plan.

Since Water 2050 was approved by the Regional Water Supply Planning Group in 2010, IISG and CMAP joined forces to help implement one of the plan’s primary recommendations: full-cost water pricing. Along with the University of Illinois Extension, they developed the Full-Cost Water Pricing Guidebook to help city officials plan and implement rate structures that account for the full costs of water services and promote conservation.

IISG continues to work with regional partners to promote water conservation in the region. For example, the Lawn to Lake program promotes healthy lawn and landscape practices that use less water and prevent pesticides and fertilizers from being washed into nearby waterways.


Margaret Schneemann
Water Resource Economist

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
Purdue University
195 Marsteller Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2033
University of Illinois Extensio
Sea Grant
Purdue University