Immeasurable Loss: Modernizing Lake Michigan Water Use - Metropolitan Planning Council

Skip to main content

Immeasurable Loss: Modernizing Lake Michigan Water Use

Download (6 MB)

Download infographics from report (EPS and PNG formats, 2.4MB)

The Chicago area is privileged to be situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, the third largest of the Great Lakes, which altogether account for 20 percent of the world’s readily available freshwater. Lake Michigan supports a unique ecosystem, provides a breathtaking natural contrast to Chicago’s skyline and the many communities lining its shores, and offers a critical asset—freshwater—that our residents and businesses rely upon to grow and prosper.

However, the presence of this vast Lake too often lends the illusion that our water is limitless. In fact, both the water itself and the public funds required to attain, treat and deliver it are finite. Every day tens of millions of gallons of Lake Michigan water are lost due to leaks, faulty meters or accounting errors, never producing any revenue. Water also goes to waste through inefficient plumbing and excessive outdoor use. Both lost water—which costs money to produce—and wasted water—which was paid for but used unproductively—are a financial burden. Fortunately, the factors that lead to loss and waste are controllable, and the problem is solvable.

This page can be found online at

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603
312 922 5616

Sign up for newsletter and alerts »

Shaping a better, bolder more equitable future for all in the greater Chicago region

For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

Donate »