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New report will help Lake Zurich develop integrated water resources plan to manage current, future water decisions

Plan addresses issues including Lake Michigan allocation, stormwater management, infrastructure repairs, and water financing 

(Lake Zurich, Ill.) … The Village of Lake Zurich faces several important water resources management decisions, from the future source of its water supply to maintaining its existing water supply, stormwater, and wastewater infrastructure. At the April 2 Lake Zurich Village Board meeting, local leaders and residents reviewed a report from a team of water planning experts that will help the community develop a strategic and integrated plan to guide its current and future water decisions. 

This report is the culmination of nearly one year of cooperative work, from March through December 2011, between the Village of Lake Zurich and a project team led by Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) in partnership with the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. Through its Community Building Initiative, MPC also convened a 13-member task force, consisting of volunteer members with expertise in ecology, economics, engineering, law, planning, and utility management, to assist and advise the project team. 

The project’s goals were to assist Village officials, staff and residents to integrate water supply, stormwater, and wastewater resource management; and to connect that work to the Village’s broader strategic plan. To produce the report, over the past year the project team and task force: 

  • analyzed reams of water-related data and information supplied by the Village;
  • surveyed the community to ascertain their top concerns about water in Lake Zurich, as well as their willingness to be a part of local solutions;
  • interviewed stakeholders, including homeowners, business owners, current and past Village leaders, environmentalists, and external partners;
  • conducted a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to explore the internal strengths and weaknesses of Lake Zurich’s water resources management, as well as external opportunities and threats facing the Village; and
  • hosted a community forum to present results from the community survey and hear additional concerns from community members who had not completed the survey. 

More information about the village’s work with the project team can be found on the village’s web site.

The report provides recommendations on how the Village can meet its water-related goals through water supply and demand management strategies, green infrastructure, conservation programs, financial capacity building, and public education. Specifically, this report: 

Prioritizes water-related issues of major concern in Lake Zurich, including the pressing need to repair and upgrade key water infrastructure, the Village’s ongoing responsibility to address some residents’ concerns about water quality and flooding, and the collective community’s pending decision as to whether to remain on groundwater or switch to Lake Michigan water. While this report presents the advantages, disadvantages and uncertainties related to each of these concerns, the project team refrains from suggesting a decision in any case, and urges the community to make these decisions together. 

Defines four Water Strategic Resources Goals and related objectives for Lake Zurich, building off the community’s four 2011-2013 Strategic Goals and Objectives. The goals and objectives address the community’s priority water concerns, including maintaining and upgrading the village’s water-related infrastructure (i.e., by developing a screening process to vet potential investments, and by creating a stormwater fee to fund stormwater-related services and capital investment); addressing residents’ concerns about flooding and water quality (i.e., by including quality and customer service as one of the Village’s operational goals, and by providing regular updates to residents and businesses on progress toward meeting Water Strategic Resources Goals); and the community’s pending decision as to whether to remain on groundwater or switch to Lake Michigan water (i.e., by providing comprehensive information to voters for and against moving to Lake Michigan water and possibly by delaying the vote so that voters can make an informed choice.) 

Creates a template for other communities interested in developing their own strategic integrated water resources management plan. While the analysis and recommendations will be most relevant to Lake Zurich stakeholders and partners, it also can inform the work of nearby communities in the Fox River and DesPlaines River watersheds, as well as members of the Northwest Water Planning Alliance, and more broadly, communities in the Great Lakes region. 

The next step is for Lake Zurich village leaders, in partnership with the community, to begin work on developing its strategic plan for water resources.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Mandy Burrell Booth, Communications Director 
Metropolitan Planning Council 
312-863-6018 
mburrell@metroplanning.org 

Tom Garritano, Communications Director
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
312-386-8609
tgarritano@cmap.illinois.gov 

Emily Robinson, Strategic Communications Manager
Center for Neighborhood Technology
773-269-4043
erobinson@cnt.org

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