March 16th, 2015 by iisg_superadmin
April 29th, 2014 by iisg_superadmin
Household leaks cost the country more than a trillion gallons of water a year—enough to quench the water needs of roughly 11 million homes. The common culprits are toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaky valves. Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take in your home and yard to save water and money. And that’s what Fix a Leak Week, March 16-22, is all about.
Sponsored by EPA’s WaterSense program, Fix a Leak Week offers demonstration events and online resources to help homeowners find and fix leaky toilets, shower heads, and more.
Household Water Efficiency is part of a larger effort to help individuals and communities secure a sustainable water supply. The Chicago region has long benefited from an abundance of fresh water. But legal limits on how much can be pulled from Lake Michigan and strained aquifers have left many concerned that demand will outpace supply.
In response to these concerns, CMAP led the development of a comprehensive water supply management plan for the 11 counties in the greater Chicago area. IISG research, including an overview of water rates, provided critical data for key components of the plan. IISG also developed a guide that helps city officials plan and implement water rates that encourage conservation and provide sufficient funding for utilities to detect and fix leaks in their water systems.
February 12th, 2014 by iisg_superadmin
The North Central Region Water Network is a recently formed partnership between extension agencies and professionals in twelve states. The network was created to help foster collaboration between researchers and extension staff throughout these states addressing water issues common to the region.
The Current, a webinar series designed to connect people with the new network and the water issues that are critical to the region, held the first round of presentations earlier this month. IISG’s water resource economist Margaret Schneeman was among the presenters for the inaugural webinar, Managing Water Supply: Resources for Education, Engagement, and Research, and she highlighted the work done so far to address water supply planning in northeastern Illinois. Gary Zoubek of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, and David Lusch from Michigan State University presented for the webinar as well.
Through both the webinars and collaboration between extension programs, the North Central Region Water Network hopes to expand water protection efforts, research, and the spread of information throughout the states. Visit the webpage (linked above) to learn more.
January 17th, 2014 by Irene Miles
Go To 2040—northeastern Illinois’ compressive development plan—received a 2013 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement earlier this month for its innovative approach to conserving natural resources, protecting public health, and strengthening local economies. Developed by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the plan addresses transportation needs, energy efficiency, and other long-term concerns for the ever-growing metropolitan area.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant’s Margaret Schneeman and Martin Jaffe worked closely with CMAP to develop the water supply planning recommendations included in the regional plan. IISG has also taken the lead in implementing key recommendations such as full-cost water pricing and outdoor water conservation. And Molly Woloszyn, IISG’s extension climatologist, assisted in the development of climate adaptation recommendations for municipalities.
August 15th, 2013 by Irene Miles
The recent release of Water Management Resource Guide is giving a boost to water conservation in DuPage County, Illinois’ second most populated county. Residents throughout the county can now get help from community conservation coordinators to better understand the need to conserve water supplies and advocate for city-wide conservation efforts. It is all a part of the Water Conservation and Protection Program developed by the DuPage Water Commission. Along with conservation coordinators, the program provides easy tips for reducing water use at home—like repairing leaky toilets and watering lawns at specific times—and makes it easier for residents to learn about conservation efforts already underway in their communities.
Here is what Margaret had to say about the summer’s events:
“I was excited to be invited by Abby Crisostomo at MPC to present my work on water rates at the DuPage Water Commission’s workshop series. As a resource economist with IISG, one of my roles has been to support regional implementation of the CMAP Water 2050 Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan. Designating a community conservation coordinator was a key recommendation made in the Water 2050 Plan, and it is terrific that the DuPage Water Commission not only implemented this recommendation but also provided training workshops and the summary resource guide. One conundrum facing conservation coordinators is that the result of successful water conservation—declines in water use—tends to decrease revenue. Water managers therefore need solutions to balance their water conservation goals with the financial resiliency of the system. In my work on this issue, I’ve sought to help planners better understand the relationships between rates, revenues, and water conservation as they craft water conservation plans for their communities. This workshop series brought together many great presenters and resources for the participants, and it was enjoyable to take part in.”
For further information on water conservation, planning, and management, visit our water supply page.
July 17th, 2013 by Irene Miles
A collaboration between Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Metropolitan Planning Council, and several other agencies across Illinois and Indiana, the new Outdoor Water Use Manual is now available from NWPA. Completed as part of a larger goal to help reduce and curb outdoor water use, the manual provides necessary information on discretionary water use, costs to utilities and municipalities, and steps to develop more efficient outdoor water use policies and plans.
The manual comes just as the height of the summer season has led some areas to enact strict watering policies or, in the recent case of Lake Forest, institute a temporary ban on outdoor watering altogether.
Peter Wallers of the NWPA writes on page four of the manual, “The significance of this guide and what separates it from the average lawn care guide is its emphasis on efficient lawn care, using as little water and fertilizer as possible while achieving maximum performance for your lawn.”
By providing information and planning steps for proper water and fertilizer usage, the manual offers not only steps for reducing current use levels, but gives municipalities a way to plan for sustainably meeting their needs well into the future.
For more information about this project and other water usage materials, contact IISG’s Margaret Schneeman.
January 30th, 2013 by Irene Miles
The guidebook serves as a toolkit of sorts to help planners, administrators, and others formulate comprehensive plans and responses to current and future effects resulting from a changing climate. The guidebook addresses a number of water related issues and vulnerabilities, including flood protection and mitigation, meeting drinking water needs, and more.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant’s extension climatologist Molly Woloszyn assisted in the creation of the toolkit, specifically in drafting the guidebook’s Primary Impacts of Climate Change in the Chicago Region appendix (PDF), along with the Illinois State Climatologist Office and the Midwestern Regional Climate Center. The section reviews the state of scientific knowledge regarding climate change in northeastern Illinois with a particular focus on variables of interest to municipalities. The section offers information on several anticipated impacts from changing climate conditions, including periods of heavy rain and corresponding flooding, increased drought conditions, weather variability that can affect utilities, and additional concerns.
The guidebook is one part of northeastern Illinois’ comprehensive plan GO TO 2040, which addresses environmental impacts, energy efficiency, transportation needs, and other areas of concern for growing municipal populations in the coming years.
January 25th, 2013 by Irene Miles
One of the most important planning concerns in the coming years will be ensuring the smart, sensible use and long-term availability of water resources for a growing population. This is especially true in large urban areas like Chicago, which has adopted the GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan to address and prepare for future growth.
Since both Water2050 and the long-range GO TO 2040 comprehensive plan recommend full-cost pricing for drinking water to promote water conservation and address aging infrastructure, the Full-Cost Water Pricing Guidebook is designed for local decision makers interested in exploring full-cost pricing as a tool for sustainable community water supply management. The first section provides mayors, village managers, planners, board and council members, and interested residents with the reasons why such planning is important. The second section offers a basic ‘how to do it’ overview for readers interested in learning more, and the third section explores one of the most important decisions in setting water rates, designing the rate structure. Margaret has also developed a downloadable Powerpoint presentation providing an overview of full-cost pricing, available at the guidebook link above.
For further information about water supply issues and planning, visit our water supply page on the website, and you can contact Margaret directly for additional information and print copies of the guidebook.
November 29th, 2012 by Irene Miles
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) was recently recognized with a National Planning Excellence award for their work developing GO TO 2040 – a comprehensive regional plan that unites and coordinates seven counties infrastructure development.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant’s Margaret Schneeman, who works directly with CMAP, was involved in the plan development and implementation, and Martin Jaffe served on the Regional Water Supply planning group. Their efforts, combined with the expertise and work of dozens of individuals and agencies, resulted in the completion of the regional plan that will enhance sustainable development and planning throughout 284 communities in and around the Chicago area.
The summarized plan can be read here, and you can visit the GO TO 2040 link above to read the complete plan.
The American Planning Association awards programs, individuals, and agencies that utilize and implement planning techniques designed to create more sustainable communities. Visit the National Planning Awards 2013 webpage to see the complete list of award winners, including information about the GO TO 2040 plan.
You can also visit our Water Supply page to learn more about the importance of planning on water quality, safety, and availability.
One issue that cuts across local, state, and federal levels in terms of importance is our need for water. Water issues have been in the news, especially with regards to old systems and infrastructure that need to be upgraded and repaired to meet growing future needs.
Situated along the shore of Lake Michigan, metropolitan Chicago has benefited for centuries from an abundance of fresh water. The infrastructure for delivering water is primarily underground: out of sight, out of mind. But awareness of the existing infrastructure’s condition and the challenges faced by community water suppliers has grown in recent years due to service and budget concerns.
“Given the post-election climate, the AWWA predicts that a proposed Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority (WIFIA) — patterned after the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) — will be the most likely vehicle for federal investment in water infrastructure… While the WIFIA is an important strategy to make large-scale water infrastructure investment more affordable for local communities, the AWWA continues to believe that local rates and charges are the best funding sources.
Read the complete blog post at the link above.
CMAPs regional comprehensive plan, GO TO 2040, recommends that communities adopt full-cost pricing to help address the need for investment in water infrastructure at the local level. CMAP and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant will release a full-cost water pricing guide for local leaders this winter.