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 To best manage large volumes of rain, the Chicago region needs to repair outdated grey infrastructure, build new systems where appropriate, and integrate relatively inexpensive “green” infrastructure – such as rain barrels, rain gardens,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
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.
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