Who’s Your Drinking Water Keeper? - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Who’s Your Drinking Water Keeper?

Is Your Community's Drinking Water System Protected for the Future?

Elected officials are busy. Some serve their community full time, while others fulfill their elected, civic duty in addition to working a separate full time job. All manner of issues, topics, financing and governance cross their desks every day. Their job is never done; they are always on the clock.

To keep up-to-date with the latest news, needed action and best practices, they need help.

Likewise, Northeastern Illinois’ drinking water systems need help.

The Chicago Tribune’s recent Water Drain series on developing drinking water issues certainly struck a chord with many—particularly around crumbling infrastructure and inequitable water rates. This series prompted the Cook County Commissioners to take a closer look at the issue—an examination which included a recent hearing for which I was asked to provide expert testimony.

To add to the complexity of our water system woes, we have over 400 drinking water utilities in our seven-county region. Most of these utilities are owned and operated by local municipalities. That means decisions about infrastructure maintenance, treatment processes, supply and demand planning and water rates are decided at the local, municipal level—often by elected officials who do not have prior experience in water resource management or running a water utility.

So we need to help them out, give them a leg up.

That is why my colleagues and I authored and produced MPC’s new, free guide Drinking Water 1-2-3.

Drinking Water 1-2-3 is a call to action and an educational tool for local officials and community leaders to help them better understand and proactively address our region’s drinking water needs. This guide provides the basics on water resource management, service, infrastructure, treatment, financing, regulation and planning. It also outlines key practices, strategies and actions your community leaders and their staff need to implement today.

Local leaders hold the key to making sure our communities have safe and sustainable drinking water systems now and into the future. The decisions they make, the actions they take (or do not take) regarding drinking water will impact the people, businesses and ecosystems in our region for decades.

What can you do?

Send along a link to this online, free resource to your local elected officials, and encourage them to get involved in MPC’s Water Supply Action Agenda. Drinking water service is a foundational requirement for livable communities. The issues we face regarding safe water are not going to go away. Contact your elected official: Make sure drinking water service is a top priority for your community today.

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For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

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