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.
Seizing the Rain in Blue Island
In the twelfth month of water stories, WOWW gave to me…a green solution to community flooding!
In October 2012, we learned how the Blue Island, Blue Water project has empowered residents of Blue Island, IL to come together to address local flooding problems by using rain barrels, native gardens, and other green infrastructure techniques. “If green infrastructure is going to have the impact we want it to have in our community, it’s going to take every resident participating,” says Jason Berry, the city’s zoning administrator and director of special projects. So far the community is off to a great start, with several community gardens located throughout the city already and plans for future green infrastructure installations in various public spaces.
Conservation Tip: Cook County residents are eligible to purchase discounted rain barrels from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD).
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.