The City of Chicago is funding its first projects under the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Strategy, incorporating green water management principles and practices into current and upcoming city projects.
“As part of the Mayor’s Green Stormwater Infrastructure Strategy, which is one of the largest voluntary investments in this type of infrastructure by an American City, DWM has worked with City agencies to identify opportunities to incorporate green infrastructure into existing and ongoing capital projects. For 2014, DWM has identified 39 such projects, which include four schoolyard projects, five complete streets projects and 30 traffic calming projects. In sum, these 39 projects will receive $6.1 million in funding from DWM and will leverage nearly $18 million in additional funding from Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) and other partners…
Working with CPS and MWRD, DWM will provide funding to the Space to Grow program, an initiative by Openlands and Healthy Schools Campaign to convert public school asphalt schoolyards into green playgrounds. Donald Morrill Math & Science Elementary School, Virgil Grissom Elementary School, George Leland Elementary School and Theophilus Schmid Elementary School are currently in the design phase, with construction anticipated to begin this summer. These projects will contain several green infrastructure components, including rain gardens, bioswales and permeable pavement to help absorb rainfall.”
Read the complete announcement, including information about the city’s new grant funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, at the link above.
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.
Cities throughout the U.S., especially those with aging infrastructure and water management issues, are implementing more and more green features in their planning. Some simple changes and additions can help reduce the burden on older systems, reducing issues of flooding, runoff, and more.
From The Atlantic Cities:
“Portland, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Seattle are just some of the cities that have pioneered green infrastructure projects. In Philadelphia, the city will spend some $3 billion over 25 years on such infrastructure as part of its Green City, Clean Waters program.
In the Midwest, Indianapolis is leading the way. Stormwater planters and bioswales with native grasses run almost the entire length of the city’s Cultural Trail, a state-of-the-art bicycle and pedestrian route built over the past six years that wends its way for eight miles through the downtown streets of Indiana’s largest city.”
With such a rainy and flood-producing spring, one’s thoughts may just turn to something practical–rain barrels. Let’s look back on last fall’s rain barrel project in Blue Island.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant was one of five lead partners in the “Blue Island, Blue Water” community-based program designed to reduce stormwater overflows and flooding issues in the Chicago suburb. Over the course of the project, more than 140 volunteers installed rain barrels at 33 different residential locations and three institutional buildings. Additionally, more than 1000 plants and nearly 100 trees were planted to help improve water management and beautify neighborhoods at the same time.
“Keeping water out of sewers also reduces run-off, which in turn reduces pollution in the Cal-Sag Channel. The Cal-Sag is an increasingly popular destination for Chicagoland kayakers and nature lovers, but the channel requires a strong commitment to water quality, since it runs through densely built residential and industrial areas that are potential sources of pollution. Thus, stormwater management in Blue Island represents a key effort in which ‘local, state and county governments work together to really make an impact in our neighborhoods,’ according to (zoning administrator and director of special projects Jason) Berry.”
The “Blue Island, Blue Water” project was also chosen as a 2012 Millenium Reserve Model Project. The project’s inclusion also makes it part of the President’s “America’s Great Outdoors Initiative,” which helps align federal efforts and funds with conservation and recreation projects on the local level where they can make real and immediate impacts. You can learn more about the project at the links above and at this ABC 7 news report from earlier this year. And read more about the Millennium Reserve’s place within the initiative here.
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.