Changing Course: Recommendations for Balancing Regional Growth and Water Resources in Northeastern Illinois

Publication Date: December 2004

Publisher: Campaign for Sensible Growth; The Openlands Project; The Metropolitan Planning Council

Author(s): Joyce OKeefe

Research Area: Environment

Keywords: clean water ; monitoring surface water ; communities

Type: Report

Coverage: Illinois


As communities expand, urban sprawl paves over the landscape, leaving less soil to absorb storm water. In Northeastern Illinois, growth has made the availability of clean water an increasingly significant concern, with shortages possible if developers do not take steps to use water more efficiently.

“Changing Course” examines the relationship between development and the quality and quantity of water in the region. It offers an overview of the region's water resources and identifies actions that could protect Illinois' streams, rivers, and lakes.

To prevent growth from degrading the water supply, one of its recommendations is to provide assistance to local officials to help them understand the best practices for managing water in their areas. Other recommendations include legislation to protect wetlands throughout the state, increasing the state's monitoring of surface water and groundwater, and providing incentives to communities to develop watershed plans.