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Water Planners Look to Drier Future for Chicagoland

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Water Planners Look to Drier Future for Chicagoland

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Leaks, waste and road salt are endangering the Chicago area’s water supply. That’s according to regional planners, who approved a new strategy to avoid future shortages.

The water plan is the first of its kind. It spells out how northeastern Illinois can keep the spigot running in the face of a growing population, aging infrastructure and a warming climate. Some recommendations could hike the price of water, such as eliminating public subsidies so people have to weigh the true cost of what they use.

Tim Loftus is with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. He says the status quo isn’t sustainable.

LOFTUS: Presently we don’t have a scarcity problem, but most of us would argue that we have a water waste problem. It’s probably an artifact of this historical mindset that water is abundant. So there’s a danger to inactivity.

The plan isn’t legally binding; Loftus says giving it real teeth would require changes in the law. A planning group representing 11 counties approved the document yesterday.

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