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GLIN==> Water Supply Planning

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

Water Supply Planning
May 9, 2003

Sources: Sarah Nerenberg 312-454-0400; Dick Warner 217-333-6444

Tri-State Planners Focus on Long-Term Water Supply

URBANA, IL--A precedent-setting intergovernmental effort to assure long-term
water supply planning and management for Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana is
now underway.

The Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC) hosted a meeting on
April 29, convening water managers from the tri-state region to organize a
regional water supply consortium. "This is an essential effort toward
assuring a dependable and high-quality water supply in our greater region,"
says Ronald Thomas, NIPC executive director. "This meeting brought together
people to talk about the formative strategies to identify and prioritize the
larger issues related to water planning and management that need to be
understood and addressed by governments and policymakers."

Attendees included Marcia Jimenez, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of
Environment, and Derek Winstanley, Chief of the Illinois State Water Survey,
as well as representatives of local, county, and state water management and
planning agencies, and three regional planning commissions.

The consortium is a direct result of the landmark Wingspread Accord (signed
in 2002), bringing together four regional planning agencies covering 17
counties, nearly 8,000 square miles and more than 1,500 government entities
around Lake Michigan. The effort also implements recommendations contained
in NIPC's Strategic Plan for Water Resources Management, adopted by the
commission in September 2001.

Lead funding is being provided by the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College
Program (www.iisgcp.org). "Water-supply planning and management are rapidly
becoming front-burner issues," said Dick Warner, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
director. "Sea Grant and its partners are pleased to help usher in these
foresighted planning activities that will certainly prove to be strategic in
coming decades."

Despite Lake Michigan's prominence as one of the world's largest fresh-water
sources, it will not alone meet the needs of the entire tri-state regional
population. In areas that are dependent on water supplies other than Lake
Michigan, such as inland surface waters, experts say there is a potential
for scarcity.

Discussion at the April meeting centered on water planning and management in
the three states and the commonalities and the benefits of a consortium.
"Now the work begins," says Sarah Nerenberg, director of NIPC's natural
resources program. "We are starting by building a network of regional water
supply planners and managers and interested parties. Some initial efforts
will be on educating the public and regional, county, and municipal
decision-makers and legislators on how water and land resources are linked."
This group plans to meet three times to organize the collaborative process.


The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program is one of 30 National Sea
Grant College Programs. Created by Congress in 1966, Sea Grant combines
university, government, business and industry expertise to address coastal
and Great Lakes needs.  Funding is provided by the National Oceanic
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U. S. Department of Commerce, the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University at West
Lafayette, Indiana.

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