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GLIN==> water shortages

Posted on behalf of Irene Miles <miles@uiuc.edu>

May 2, 2002

Tri-State Accord Agencies Face Water Shortage

URBANA--Why would a population settled along Lake Michigan, one of the
largest fresh-water resources, have concerns about water shortages? At this
point, the lake is being used to its legal limit and many western suburbs,
which depend on deep aquifers for drinking water, are using them faster than
they are being replenished.

"The recently signed Wingspread Tri-State Regional Accord offers an
opportunity to manage a potential water shortage with comprehensive and
consistent planning, said Martin Jaffe, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant coastal
business and environment specialist. "Careful management of water resources
will be critical in the near future."

The accord is an historic agreement in which four planning agencies along
Lake Michigan in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana have committed to work
together as they consider major environmental and economic issues. Included
in this agreement are the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission, the
Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, the Southeastern
Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and the Chicago Area Transportation

"Natural resources don't respect political boundaries," said Jaffe, who is
an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a
researcher with the Great Cities Institute. "With this agreement, planning
can take place on a watershed or aquifer basis."

Both Milwaukee and Chicago are facing similar water supply constraints in
their western suburbs as the metro regions continue to grow.

"The deep aquifer system is being overtaxed, leaving shallow aquifers as the
region's primary future water supply resource," said Jaffe. "But, although
the Illinois State Water Survey estimates that both the current and
projected use of the region's shallow aquifers are much less than their
sustainable yields, shallow aquifers are more susceptible to depletion and
pollution than the region's larger deep aquifer system. As a result, they
will need to be managed much more comprehensively," he added.

"Cooperation between the three states through the accord can facilitate
better water resource management strategies to keep deep aquifer use at or
below its sustainable yield, and to promote best management practices to
reduce groundwater pollution risks," said Jaffe.

"The tri-state accord began as an effort to encourage these planning
agencies to begin talking to one another," said Brian Miller,
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant associate director, "and to include environmental
concerns in their considerations. This accord can be a model for
intergovernmental cooperation."

Initial meetings of the four planning agencies were funded by
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, a research, education and outreach program
administered through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and
Purdue University in Indiana. "Sea Grant is still taking the lead on
addressing critical regional issues by proposing collaborative workshops
with the planning agencies to define shoreline concerns in the southern Lake
Michigan basin," added Jaffe.

Source:   Martin Jaffe (312)996-2178
Brian Miller (765)494-3573

Contact:  Irene Miles
Extension Communications Specialist
(217)333-8055; miles@uiuc.edu


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