The Case for Fixing the Leaks: America’s Crumbling Water Infrastructure Wastes Billions of Gallons, Dollars

November 18th, 2013

Great Lakes Region Urged to Adopt Improved Water Management Practices

Every day in America, we lose nearly six billion gallons of expensive, treated water due to crumbling infrastructure. Leaky, aging pipes and outdated systems are wasting 2.1 trillion gallons annually. That’s roughly 16% of our nation’s daily water use. Or, enough to swallow several major American cities whole: 

  • Cover Image IllustrationManhattan under 298 feet of water
  • Minneapolis under 172 feet of water
  • Cleveland under 122 feet of water
  • Milwaukee under 104 feet of water
  • Detroit under 70 feet of water
  • Chicago under 43 feet of water

The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on sustainable cities, today released a report titled The Case for Fixing the Leaks, part of a collaborative campaign focused on Great Lakes states, calling for leadership in improved water management.

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Building a RainReady America

January 28th, 2015
A residential rain garden and permeable pavement.

Relatively low-cost solutions, like residential rain gardens and permeable pavement, can protect homes from urban flooding.

Across the country, millions of dollars are spent every year repairing the damage caused by urban flooding – and it’s likely to keep getting worse. Heavy rain events are increasing, absorbent surfaces are lost to concrete and asphalt, and resource-strapped cities have fewer and fewer funds available for large stormwater infrastructure projects. Our latest report, A RainReady Nation, offers a suite of cost-effective solutions to keep homes and businesses dry.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology’s RainReady℠ initiative was born out of years of working with homeowners and communities to better understand urban flooding. Along with opening our eyes to the scope of urban flooding’s devastation, this work illuminated the incredible difficultly affected property owners face when trying to get help.

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CNT Press Mentions January 2015

January 8th, 2015

Hidden Car Costs Can Profoundly Impact Home BuyersBloomberg Businessweek | January 20, 2014
Obama’s ‘two-earner’ tax credit wouldn’t cover two weeks of infant care or commuter costsWashington Examiner | January 20, 2014
‘AirBnB For Cars’ Coming to Bridgeport, PilsenDNAinfo Chicago | January 19, 2014
Now Is the Time for National Water Resource PolicyHuffington Post | January 14, 2014
Planners Seek To ‘Get Prices Right’ On ParkingRoll Call | January 14, 2014
Op-Ed: Don’t let developers opt out of city affordable-housing ordinanceCrain’s Chicago Business | January 9, 2014
No More Money Down the Drain: How to Plug Leaks in Drinking Water Systems and Save Money Across the Great Lakes BasinNRDC Switchboard | January 8, 2014

Suburbs Can Advance Economic Development and Equality by Adding Housing Near Transit

December 11th, 2014

Maria TOD 521 - Highland Park

Chicago’s northern suburbs are falling short in efforts to capitalize on the economic growth potential of building mixed-income TOD, according to our latest report. The report, Quality of Life, (e)Quality of Place, was released today by CNT and the nonprofit Open Communities.

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Give the Gift of Sustainable Cities

December 2nd, 2014

Chicago Neighborhoods (6)

Dear Friends,

I’ve been thinking a lot about home. I’ve watched – and helped – my own neighborhood transform in the decades I’ve called it home, just as CNT is working to improve the quality of life, environment, and economy in the ecosystem of places we all call home. With your help, we can continue growing our impact in neighborhoods across the country.

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CNT Press Mentions December 2014

December 2nd, 2014

Montrose Green TOD Actually Fits Its Neighborhood Just FineStreetsblog Chicago | December 18, 2014
Downtown Living: Cheaper Than Groton?Ithaca Times | December 11, 2014
North Chicago suburbs lack affordable housing near MetraChicago Tribune | December 10, 2014
Suburban apartments tout fringe benefitsChicago Tribune | December 5, 2014
Cook County hosts transit public hearingsWBEZ | December 2, 2014

CNT Press Mentions November 2014

November 4th, 2014

Cook County holds transportation policy open housesChicago Tribune | November 30, 2014
Finding the funds to expand transit (letter)Crain’s Chicago Business | November 24, 2014
Counties, towns partner to kick-start developmentSouthtown Star | November 23, 2014
CMAP pushes quarter-penny tax to fix crumbling infrastructureCrain’s Chicago Business | November 12, 2014
Slipping Through the CracksOn Earth | November 7, 2014
Jackson Street plan targets flooding in downtown SpringfieldState Journal-Register | November 5, 2014
Guest on The Infra Blog: Jacky Grimshaw, Vice President of Policy, Center for Neighborhood TechnologyInfrastructure USA | November 4, 2014
Transpo Leaders Brainstorm at the Shared-Use Mobility Center LaunchStreetsblog Chicago | November 3, 2014
America’s Crumbling Water InfrastructurePlanetizen | November 3, 2014

What’s the Secret Behind America’s Most Innovative Cities?

October 29th, 2014

FlickrCC -  zman z28

A recent CNN Money series showcased the most innovative cities in America. Chicago came in at #4, in part because “…[Chicago’s] Center for Neighborhood Technology has contributed to innovations on the local level, like car-sharing and energy efficiency in homes.” Wow. We’re honored! But wait, there’s more: CNT also had a hand in projects in Minneapolis and Cleveland, two more cities on the most innovative list.

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Illinois Gubernatorial Campaigns Neglect Public Transportation

October 28th, 2014

The November 4 Illinois gubernatorial election is just around the corner. While there are many important topics being debated, we’re hearing next to nothing about funding for improved and expanded public transportation.

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Helping America’s Utilities Start Fixing the Leaks

October 28th, 2014


CNT’s November 2013 report, The Case for Fixing the Leaks, offered a look at the disconcerting state of America’s water infrastructure. The report found that America’s pipes leak a whopping 2.1 trillion gallons of treated water every year. In a time when parts of the country have been facing record-setting droughts, protecting our drinking water supply is more vital than ever.

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Highway Boondoggles + The Illiana Expressway

October 7th, 2014
Photo by Brad/Flickr Creative Commons License

Photo by Brad/Flickr Creative Commons License

(This post also appears in Going Places, a policy blog by CNT’s Jacky Grimshaw)

I recently read the U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s excellent new report, Highway Boondoggles: Wasted Money and America’s Transportation Future. I couldn’t help thinking about the decision(s) looming in CNT’s backyard about the proposed Illiana Expressway.

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