In metropolitan Chicago, modest rain and snow melt overwhelm grey infrastructure, the pumps and pipes making up our sewer systems. Sewage and stormwater overflows cause flooding in homes and businesses, particularly in impoverished areas. Such overflows also negatively affect the water quality of Chicago Area Waterways System, impacting people and aquatic life from the Illinois River to the Mississippi. This problem is expected to worsen as storms grow larger and more frequent due to climate change.
While maintaining existing grey infrastructure is critically 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 To best manage large volumes of rain, the Chicago region needs to repair outdated grey infrastructure (building new systems where appropriate) while also integrating approaches to green infrastructure—such as rain barrels, rain gardens, green roofs, and permeable paving—into building and property management practices.
Stormwater does not obey jurisdictional boundaries. We are all impacted by wet-weather events, but we know some communities are disproportionately affected. Such a regional issue is beyond the scope and capacity of a single municipality or organization. Planning and implementing both grey and green stormwater solutions across municipal boundaries is imperative—and a vital component in the next wave of innovation for solving urban flooding and stormwater-related challenges.
Coordinated planning and investment is the path to a resilient Chicago region
MPC works with communities and policymakers to improve local investments, access funding sources, drive regional collaboration, and develop useful tools that municipalities put into practice to help manage stormwater.
MPC’s Stormwater Management work includes:
to solve regional stormwater and flooding challenges
MPC facilitates the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative (CSC), a diverse group of stakeholders working to improve coordination of knowledge, technology and financial resources to minimize the negative impacts of stormwater in the Calumet region. The CSC builds intergovernmental and cross-sector partnerships to drive coordination across boundaries and jurisdictions to solve regional stormwater and flooding challenges.
A guide to establishing dedicated funding for stormwater management
Managing flooding and building and maintaining stormwater infrastructure are not new components of most cities’ public works programs. However there is a growing need to ensure adequate and reliable funding streams are available at the municipal scale to reduce increasing street flooding, basement back-ups, as well as erosion, contamination and degradation of rivers and lakes, which arise from inadequately managed stormwater. The purpose of this guide is: to identify what avenues are available for municipalities to reliably and consistently generate adequate funds to manage stormwater.
A Framework for Regional, Inter-jurisdictional, and Multi-level Stormwater Planning
The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), working in concert with CH2M, a global engineering leader with experience in the Chicago region, created this Regional Planning Framework because we believe that the ability to plan and implement stormwater solutions across boundaries is a vital component of the next wave of innovation in solving flooding and other stormwater-related challenges.
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.