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.
Goose Island’s Green Line Project Makes ‘Blue’ Brew
In the third month of water stories, WOWW gave to me…a “green” beer to drink with family and friends!
In March of 2011, we learned about Chicago brewery Goose Island’s efforts to conserve water by conducting a product life-cycle analysis of their 312 Urban Wheat Ale and using the results to change how they clean bottles and fermentation tanks. Goose Island also developed their Green Line Pale Ale to inform customers about these efforts, because, as operations manager Tom Korder points out, “beer is more engaging than data.” While the brewery works to reuse water from the Great Lakes, their commitment to conservation extends to the Costa Rican rainforest, where they have partnered with the Nature Conservancy’s Adopt an Acre® program.
Conservation tip: Beat your bill. Many water bills also show month-to-month use comparisons. Challenge yourself and your family to a conservation goal and then reward yourselves if you hit it. If your community doesn’t send monthly bills, request them.
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.