CHICAGO — The Regional Water Supply Planning Group, a task force funded by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to study the Chicago area’s long-term water needs, has issued hundreds of recommendations for businesses and residents to start conserving water to prevent future shortages.
The task force issued a report last week directed at state, regional, county, municipal and other public agencies urging the implementation of high-efficiency washing machines, increased metering of water use, and greater recycling of water to meet the demands of the growing population.
“Based on the data, it is clear that continued rapid population growth and economic activity will put a strain on the region’s current supply, and significant shortages could result without coordinated action to implement this new water plan,” the group’s chairwoman, Bonnie Thomson Carter, a Lake County Board member and president of the Lake County Forest Preserve, said in a statement.
Access to Lake Michigan water is restricted by a 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decree, and as the population grows, wells will have to be dug deeper and underground water will need more treatment to be drinkable, the task force says.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), which coordinated the effort, is making water use a key factor in its regional long-range infrastructure plan and organizing a “Metropolitan Chicago Water-Supply Summit” in March to start implementation of the water-conservation plan.