Sep 16, 2008

Projected Chicago Area Water Demand Could Lead to Shortages

Chicago area water demand could increase 64% by 2050

A Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) report indicates that water shortages could be on the horizon for the Chicago area unless businesses and government agencies plan effectively, according to the Business Ledger.

The report, which was funded by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, includes information on an 11-county deep bedrock aquifer and the Fox River Basin’s shallow bedrock aquifer. In those 11 counties, demand for water could increase as much as 64% by mid-century, creating potentially serious shortages, according to the report.

With this report northeastern Illinois now has a clear picture showing implications of our water consumption trends, said CMAP Executive Director Randy Blankenhorn.

“To ensure an adequate supply for residential, commercial and residential needs, we must start now to plan better and conserve more,” Blankenhorn said.

The Regional Water Demand Report is one important step toward a coordinated regional strategy for managing growth to help minimize water shortages in the future, according to Blankenhorn.

The water demand report will influence the 11-county water supply plan that CMAP and its Regional Water Supply Planning Group are scheduled to complete in mid-2009. The three-year regional study is designed to address potential shortages in Boone, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.

In the report part of the plan, researchers generated three distinct future scenarios by major user and geographical sub-areas within the region. The first, referred to as the current trends scenario, assumes that today water withdrawal patterns will basically continue. The second is a less resource-intensive scenario and the third is more resource intensive.

Another initial pilot study is being carried out by the Mahomet Aquifer Consortium in east-central Illinois.