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Stormwater Mitigation

Making stormwater a resource, rather than a nuisance

The issue: Stormwater is often a costly nuisance

Rain seems like a free resource, but more often it becomes a costly nuisance for communities and property owners when it overflows sewers, floods streets and ruins basements. More frequent and intense storms due to climate change will only exacerbate problems stemming from the region’s aging water infrastructure. While maintaining existing “grey” infrastructure – pipes and pumps – is vitally important, building new isn’t always the most cost-effective option. To best manage large volumes of rain, the Chicago region needs to repair outdated grey infrastructure, build new systems where appropriate, and integrate relatively inexpensive “green” infrastructure – such as rain barrels, rain gardens, green roofs, and permeable paving – into building and property management practices.

The solution: Make stormwater a resource

Green infrastructure is a great way to reduce stormwater's negative effects, such as flooding. MPC is working with communities and policymakers to balance local investments and encourage residents and business owners to help manage the rain that falls on their property.

MPC adds value to community development and fiscal management by assisting municipalities with integrating both grey and green infrastructure into cost-effective stormwater management plans and implementing these strategies to manage rain where it falls. MPC also identifies and advocates for the most appropriate revenue streams to finance these capital investments. Through these efforts, MPC is helping the region lessen the negative effects of stormwater, improve returns on infrastructure investments and leverage the community development and water supply management benefits of green infrastructure.

The benefits: Solutions at every scale

Managing stormwater isn’t just a local challenge. Communities need more flexible state and federal resources to support innovative on-the-ground practices, as well as local property owners willing to be part of the solution. That’s why MPC is developing solutions at every scale.


Coordinated investments in grey and green infrastructure will increase options for communities to manage stormwater. MPC is working with the Ill. Environmental Protection Agency to prioritize both types of infrastructure investment through the State Revolving Loan Fund and the Ill. Green Infrastructure Grant program.


Building off our long history of developing best practices in planning, MPC is working with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and other regional partners to develop a stormwater management template that communities in northeastern Illinois can adapt to prioritize and invest in local green and grey infrastructure improvements. 


Because most land is privately owned, it is critical to engage private property owners in becoming part of the stormwater management solution, by installing green infrastructure to manage rainfall on their property. With a range of partners, MPC has been assisting Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood and the south suburb of Blue Island with demonstration projects that are involving private property owners and showcasing how green infrastructure can help reduce flooding, and, if well designed, transform underutilized spaces into attractive community assets. MPC is also working with the Village of Lake Zurich to balance downtown redevelopment with stormwater concerns.

For more information

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
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Chicago, Ill. 60603
P 312 922 5616 F 312 922 5619
Helping create competitive, equitable, and sustainable communities

For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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