The Technical Advisory Committee had its monthly meeting on November 26, 2013. Several members noted that their communities experienced difficulties in mid-November with frazil ice on the Fox River—a collection of small ice particles that looks like slush. Frazil ice forms when water cools rapidly in turbulent waters, usually caused by wind. The small particles quickly begin to stick together and form larger chunks that can interfere with water supply intake pumps. Thankfully, interference usually only lasts for a few hours. In these instances, communities were back to normal operations within four hours.
The Illinois Department of Public Health is considering updated language for the Illinois Plumbing Code to allow for "green" plumbing systems—most importantly the addition of language to allow non-potable water reuse systems in some situations. The current code does not include any language about this technology, so the only way for a homeowner, business owner or municipality to install such a system is to have a variance approved by the state. The proposed code revisions must be submitted to the legislature's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules
in order to be approved. The NWPA Executive Committee approved sending a letter in support of the plumbing code reform to Governor Quinn's office.
The State and Regional Water Supply Policy Coordination Group—a group convened by the Metropolitan Planning Council and the the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning—meets bi-monthly to support state water policy planning and advance implementation of the region’s water supply plan, Water 2050. The group is comprised of regional water experts, policy makers, private businesses and other regional stakeholders. NWPA is represented at these meetings by Pete Wallers and Mayor Tom Weisner. To be added to the meeting list, please contact Josh Ellis
, Metropolitan Planning Council.
The Northwest Water Planning Alliance
, a consortium of roughly 80 groundwater and surface water communities in DeKalb, Kane, Kendall, Lake and McHenry counties, took a big step forward on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, when the Executive Committee approved the group’s first Strategic Plan since its establishment in 2010. The creation of the plan was made possible by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)’s Local Technical Assistance
program, which provides planning assistance to communities in the region to advance planning projects that align with GO TO 2040
Tim Loftus, water resource planner at CMAP, facilitated discussions that began in February among NWPA Executive Committee and Technical Assistance Committee members about the future direction of the NWPA and prepared the comprehensive three-year plan. The Metropolitan Planning Council also provided input during the process and is tasked with being a lead implementer for a number of outreach initiatives. These discussions, paired with a guiding vision of dependable water supplies in the NWPA area for generations to come, led to a mission statement and very specific objectives and strategies. The plan is intended to help the group expand their presence in the region and focus efforts on three overarching goals that reflect the vision and mission of the NWPA:
- Build the organizational capacity to achieve the mission.
- Provide education and outreach to raise awareness of the value of water as a finite asset.
- Develop sustainable water use policies and practices that are widely adopted and protective of water supplies.
“The importance of the strategic plan is that it confirms the direction in which the NWPA wants to head in the future,” says Peter Wallers, president of Engineering Enterprises, Inc. and Technical Assistance Committee Chairman. That Committee—comprised of local water professionals and utility managers—can work closely with the Executive Committee—comprised of elected officials—to pursue important initiatives in a coordinated way. He further emphasizes the importance of the NWPA’s work, saying that “water is going to be a critical element going forward and we as a region need to do a better job of understanding supply and demand to remain economically strong.” As CMAP’s Water 2050 regional water supply and demand plan
describes in great detail, regional water demand is expected to increase in the coming decades, perhaps even dramatically based upon some population forecasts. Regional planning is imperative now to ensure that northeastern Illinois’ aquifers and rivers can sustain the region’s population and economic growth well into the future.
Read the rest of the article detailing 2014 plan priorities at the Metropolitan Planning Council's website
To learn more 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 January 28, 2014.