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 Leaky, aging pipes and outdated systems are wasting 2.1 trillion gallons annually.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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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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CNT Press Mentions October 2014

October 7th, 2014

Public transit: Ohio funding that’s among lowest in U.S. likely to arise at Tuesday ODOT forumPlain Dealer | October 20, 2014
How Metra’s New 30-Year Plan Could Reshape Chicago Regional RailNext City | October 20, 2014
Transit Future Slowly Building Coalition to Fund Expanded TransitStreetsblog Chicago | October 13, 2014
Here is how you rebuild BronzevilleCrain’s Chicago Business | October 9, 2014
Steer growth to cities’ urban areas where services areThe Daily Herald | October 9, 2014
The most innovative cities in AmericaCNN Money | October 8, 2014
So Your City Is Adding HOT Lanes. Will They Work for Transit?Streetsblog USA | October 7, 2014
Sidestepping the Lowest BidderNational Journal | October 6, 2014
Experts Say ‘Good Jobs Are No Longer an Afterthought’ in Transportation SpendingMetro | October 3, 2014

New HUD Guidebook Offers Transportation Strategies for Small and Mid-Sized Cities

October 7th, 2014
FlickrCC -  Michigan Municipal League (Traverse City)

Traverse City, MI (Photo by Michigan Municipal League/Flickr Creative Commons License)

For the average household, transportation is the second-highest expense after housing. In large, dense cities, public transit availability can dramatically decrease transportation costs. But what about smaller places – quiet suburbs, rural communities, regional centers – that don’t have the same level of public transit service? How can leaders in these communities find ways to reduce transportation costs to help low- and middle-income residents get ahead?

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Bay Area Parking Calculator Finds $140 Million in Unused Spaces

September 30th, 2014


Is there such thing as too much parking? For many Americans, the answer may be a quick “no.” But it’s actually not that simple.

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Urban Flooding Bill Introduced in Congress

September 23rd, 2014

Umbrellas - FlickrCC - Christopher Swerin

Urban flooding impacts people and communities all over the country, damaging homes and businesses, and polluting precious water resources. To address this issue, US Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Peter King (R-NY) introduced the bipartisan Urban Flooding Awareness Act.

This federal legislation is designed to help develop a clear-cut definition of urban flooding, and requires a comprehensive study of the personal and social costs of urban flooding in America.

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CNT Press Mentions September 2014

September 9th, 2014

Transit Agencies Trade UpWall Street Journal | September 30, 2014
A new era in affordable transportationBetter! Cities and Towns | September 29, 2014
Saving homes from urban floodingChicago Reporter | September 8, 2014
What to do with all that water (letter)Crain’s Chicago Business | September 8, 2014

CNT + Army Corps Collaborate to Help Cities Get RainReady

August 11th, 2014

Flooding in Midlothian, IL

Urban flooding is a problem with a broad range of causes. The way neighborhoods are developed, the capacity of sewer systems, regional weather variations – all of these, and more, affect flood risk. This means it will take a diverse array of expertise to develop effective solutions to a community’s flooding problems.

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Transit Deserts

August 4th, 2014

Transit Deserts

Like food deserts, transit deserts have demonstrable demand but a dearth of supply. Those who live in transit deserts face restricted mobility and limited access to jobs and amenities.

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CNT Press Mentions August 2014

August 4th, 2014

How Transit, Walkability Help Make Cities More AffordableHuffington Post | August 25, 2014
Bay Trail North: FundedNorth Coast Journal | August 23, 2014
Agency proposes fixes to transit desertsWBEZ | August 21, 2014
Transit DesertsChicago Newsroom | August 21, 2014
El gran problema de los desiertos de tránsito en IllinoisUnivision Chicago | August 18, 2014
Reasons to encourage downtown densityBusiness in Savannah | August 10, 2014
One Woman’s Quest to Design Parking Lots People Don’t Hate CityLab | August 5, 2014
Concerns grow over ‘transit desert’ in Chicago WGN | August 4, 2014
Study Identifies Chicago’s ‘Transit Deserts’ Planetizen | August 4, 2014
Governor Quinn Signs Laws to Address Urban Flooding and Ensure Cleaner Drinking WaterBloomberg Businessweek | August 4, 2014
‘Transit deserts’ don’t serve workers, study saysChicago Tribune | August 3, 2014
Tucson pushing to solve affordable-housing crisisArizona Daily Star | August 2, 2014
Metra Can Follow Toronto’s Lead and Run All-Day, Frequent ServiceStreetsblog Chicago | August 1, 2014

Legislation Will Help Make Illinois Water Infrastructure More Resilient

July 23rd, 2014

FlickrCC - Mouin

Illinois Governor Signs Clean Water Initiative


Contact: Ryan Kilpatrick, CNT, 773.269.4041
Josh Mogerman, NRDC, 312-651-7909

CHICAGO (July 23, 2014) – Governor Patrick Quinn signed into law today legislation that will help Illinois cities better prepare for the impacts of climate change.  The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) worked with the legislature and with Governor Quinn’s administration to develop the legislation and worked to support the bill’s passage.

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