March 2014 Issue 5

Picture of the Month

Streamgage: A streamgage contains instruments that measure and record the volumetric rate of water flowing in a river, or its discharge. Generally, these measurements occur automatically every 15 minutes or more. It is important to measure streamflow so that water providers can make informed decisions about a river’s health. Low river flow can create water supply and quality issues. It is important for communities within the NWPA area to work together because aquifers and rivers are connected. This means determining the level of aquifer pumping that yields an adequate supply of groundwater without lowering available water to those that use river water.

Measuring streamflow involves several steps. The height of the stream is continuously measured. There is a strong mathematical relationship between stream height and streamflow, so a continuous record of streamflow can be calculated from the record of stream height. Most simply, however, streamflow is calculated by multiplying the cross-sectional area of the stream and the average velocity. Streamflow is expressed most commonly in the U.S. as cubic feet per second, which is equivalent to a box of water measuring 1 by 1 foot with a flow rate of about 7.5 gallons per second.

Executive Committee Members:

Executive Committee Chairman
Thomas Weisner
City of Aurora, Mayor
(Metro West COG)

Mary McCann
McHenry County Board Member
(McHenry County)

Kathleen Leitner
Village of Tower Lakes, President
(Barrington Area COG)

Dale Berman
Village of North Aurora, President
(Metro West COG)

Bonnie T. Carter
Lake County Board Member
(Lake County)

Terry Counley
Village of McCollum Lake, President
(McHenry County COG)

Karen Darch
Village of Barrington, President
(Northwest Municipal Conference)

Joseph Haimann
Kane County Board Member
(Kane County alternate)

David Kaptain
City of Elign, Mayor
(Metro West COG)

John Purcell
Kendall County Board Member
(Kendall County alternate)

Carolyn Schofield
McHenry County Board Member
(McHenry County alternate)

John Shaw
Kendall Count Board Chairman
(Kendall County)

Patsy Smith
Village of Campton Hills, President
(Metro West COG)

Melisa Taylor
Kane County Board Member
(Kane County)

Ruth Anne Tobias
DeKalb County Board Member
(DeKalb County)

Technical Advisory Committee Chairman:
Peter Wallers, P.E., CFM
Engineering Enterprises, Inc., President
Metro West COG Consulting Engineer
(630) 466-6721

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) had its monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 25, 2014. Several members noted chloride concentrations were higher than normal again during February, with concentrations spiking after thawing events. The concentrations do not pose a risk to human health and remained under the U.S. EPA's secondary maximum contaminant level threshold—a non-mandatory guideline established to assist public water systems in managing their drinking water for aesthetic considerations, such as taste, color and odor. Chloride levels in groundwater is an ongoing concern. There will be a brief presentation on this topic at the Technical Advisory Committee meeting on March 25, 2014.

At a recent meeting facilitated by the Metropolitan Planning Council and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP),the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced its intention to seek a long-term revenue stream to sustain statewide water supply planning efforts—like those recently announced contracts with groups like CMAP, the Illinois State Water Survey and the East Central Illinois water supply planning group. IDNR is seeking input from stakeholders about what topics and goals should be included in a statewide water supply strategic plan that can be taken to the legislature to seek appropriations for FY2015. Stakeholders at the meeting expressed their interest in the development of drought preparedness measures and the determination of existing and future water supplies for each water supply planning region as requirements to be included within a statewide strategic plan.

To learn more about NWPA and participate in our planning process, please attend our Technical Advisory Committee meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month at The Centre at Elgin at 10:00am. The next TAC meeting will be on Tuesday, March 25, 2014.

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Progress Report

NWPA Water Reporting Tool Launches

By Kaitlyn McClain

The Northwest Water Planning Alliance (NWPA) has partnered with the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) to develop a new online water reporting tool for member communities, and the tool is now live!

This project, which began in 2013, was undertaken as a strategy to track monthly and annual water use among NWPA member communities. The widespread use of this tool by NWPA water providers is crucial to achieving one of the three over-arching goals set forth in the recently adopted NWPA Strategic Plan—the development of sustainable water-use policies and practices that are widely adopted and protective of water supplies. In order to formulate regional best practices, providers and elected officials need to have a clear picture of supply and demand. This water reporting tool will allow NWPA to better understand the demand component by providing a way to visualize regional water usage trends among members over time.

The water reporting tool is easy to navigate and complete.

NWPA is asking all member communities to submit data on a monthly basis by visiting The user-friendly tool tracks fifteen variables including water supplied from shallow wells, deep wells, and river sources along with consumer demand and water main break information. All are variables that are typically already being monitored by providers, so monthly data submission is not time-consuming. In addition to ease, monthly, complete data submission has the added benefit of taking the place of the annual ISWS Illinois Water Inventory Program submission requirement.

The water reporting tool has undergone beta-testing with a handful of communities, and feedback has been incorporated into the design. The tool has received praise from water suppliers already using the tool. The next phase for this tool is to develop, in partnership with ISWS, a platform for member communities to view the compiled water usage and demand data to aide collaborative water supply planning in the NWPA region. 

More robust datasets create the foundation for more informed decision-making, so this is a great step forward for regional water supply planning in northeastern Illinois.

Unique login information has been distributed to water providers via email. Please contact Kaitlyn McClain at 312-863-6041 or if you have not received login information and believe that you should have.



To address the rising cost of water and the need to conserve limited resources, the DuPage Water Commission (DWC) created a Water Conservation and Protection Program. The purpose of the WCAPP is to provide all water users in DuPage County with a consistent message about water conservation and provide DWC customers with the tools needed to be good stewards of our finite water supply. The Water Resource Management Guide is a compilation of the resources from a four-part workshop series that was put together by the Metropolitan Planning Council over the summer of 2013 to provide conservation coordinators with tools to support their conservation efforts. Resources and tools in this guide can be throughout the region and benefit communities in NWPA.


The Northwest Water Planning Alliance (NWPA), formed by intergovernmental agreements, seeks to collaboratively plan for and steward our shared river and groundwater resources to ensure a sustainable water supply for the people, economy, environment, and future generations.

For more information or to contribute to the newsletter, contact Kaitlyn McClain.

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