By Lauren Contorno
Since its launch in 2010, What Our Water’s Worth (WOWW), a joint campaign of Openlands and the Metropolitan Planning Council, has brought readers the stories of real life water stewards from the Chicago and northwest Indiana region. These water champions, including notable individuals, community groups, businesses, and municipalities, have shown us that from Lake Michigan to the Fox River, how we use our water resources – including what we conserve, how much we waste, and what we choose to invest in water quality – is up to all of us.
Here are some highlights from the past two years of water stories as well as conservation tips that can help you emulate these best water conservation practices at your home or business.
An ‘uncommon’ farm blooms on restaurant’s rooftop
In the first month of water stories, WOWW gave to me…a water-savvy restaurant!
In September 2010, we showcased local restaurant, Uncommon Ground, and learned how going green has helped them save money while creating the nation’s first certified organic rooftop farm and earning recognition as the “Greenest Restaurant in America.” Owner Helen Cameron contends, “I am not doing green just to be green; I am doing green to run a business.” The rooftop garden employs numerous water-saving techniques, including earth boxes, solar/thermal heated water, and rain barrels, which reduce stormwater runoff.
Conservation tip: Support businesses such as Uncommon Ground that have adopted green and “blue” practices to conserve resources, including water.
Visit the WOWW water story archive to scroll through all of our past stories and see the WOWW factors of how much water and dollars are saved from best practices! If you have a friend who wants to learn more about what people in the region are doing to recognize the value of water, please pass along this story, have them visit the WOWW blog for more information, and encourage them to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter here.