This letter to the editor ran Dec. 7, 2009, in Crain's Chicago Business.
Crain's recent coverage of projected water shortages in Northeastern Illinois drove home a fact many of us living near Lake Michigan are just beginning to realize: This region's water supply is valuable and limited, and we need to do more to protect and preserve it ("Water shortage looms," Crain's, Oct. 12).
Aurora began adopting policies in the early '90s to protect and preserve its two main water supplies, the Fox River and underground aquifers. A public education campaign to encourage conservation and rebates on water-saving appliances led to a 4-million-gallon reduction in Aurora's use from 2005 to 2008 — despite continued population growth.
Aurora teamed up with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources Defense Council and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning on the innovative Rooftop to Rivers program, which uses natural landscaping and other strategies to prevent storm-water runoff from polluting the river. The city also invested $30 million to separate its combined sewer system, reducing backups and Fox River contamination.
Perhaps most important, Aurora is taking an active role in the Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply Planning Group to coordinate protection and preservation measures across the region to ensure all communities — whether their main source is Lake Michigan, aquifers or rivers — have enough clean water now and in the future.
Mayor, City of Aurora
Gerald W. Adelmann
Metropolitan Planning Council