Great Lakes Water Infrastructure

Damian Entwistle/Flickr

Analyzing and Proposing Solutions to Water Infrastructure Failures in Great Lakes Cities

It could cost Great Lakes states $200 billion over the next 20 years to bring drinking and wastewater infrastructure to a state of good repair. One of the primary drivers of sky-rocketing infrastructure investment needs is a history of low investment. The vast majority of water supply and wastewater infrastructure was installed in the early 20th century and is over 100 years old. To add fuel to the fire, increased federal regulations, climatic stressors, and rising construction costs all exacerbate the level of infrastructure investment needed.

If costs for water and sewer services must go up in order to finance the billions of dollars of infrastructure investment needed, how do utilities ensure affordability throughout their service area? CNT, with support from the C.S. Mott Foundation, is working to tackle this question.  We’re identifying a variety of infrastructure risks that impact shrinking cities throughout the Great Lakes Basin, evaluating the associated prevalence and cost of those risks, and, with an eye toward maintaining affordability, developing a set of solutions to increase infrastructure resiliency that can be tailored to cities based on existing risks and opportunities for intervention.

We’ll be posting case studies, resource write-ups, and other tools to this site in coming months. If your organization is interested in partnering with us as we work toward demonstrating solutions for tackling water infrastructure risks in the Great Lakes Basin, please contact Anna Wolf.
 

Great Lakes Water Infrastructure Project Webinar Series

1. Equity, Affordability, and Clean Water: Innovative Responses to Great Lakes Water Infrastructure Challenges

Thursday, March 1st, 2018 
View recorded webinar


2. Water Loss & Performance Metrics​
Thursday, March 29th, 2018
View recorded webinar


3. Financing Water Infrastructure
Thursday, April 26th, 2018
View recorded Webinar


4. Scaling Green Infrastructure
Thursday, May 31st, 2018
View recorded webinar

 

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Research + Further Reading

RainReady Calumet Corridor

CNT
March 10, 2017

The RainReady Calumet Corridor Plan represents the collective vision of over 2,100 residents, business owners, and municipal staff, elected representatives, regional leaders, and non-governmental organizations that all share interest in strengthening the homes, neighborhoods, communities throughout the Calumet Corridor in the south suburbs of Chicago. This document is a comprehensive plan for the entire Calumet Corridor, with specific recommendations for each of the cities and villages within--Blue Island, Calumet City, Calumet Park, Dolton, Riverdale, and Robbins. 

 

RainReady Robbins

CNT
March 10, 2017

The RainReady Calumet Corridor Plan represents the collective vision of over 2,100 residents, business owners, and municipal staff, elected representatives, regional leaders, and non-governmental organizations that all share interest in strengthening the homes, neighborhoods, communities throughout the Calumet Corridor in the south suburbs of Chicago. This document focuses on the Village of Robbins, Illinois.

 

RainReady Riverdale

CNT
March 10, 2017

The RainReady Calumet Corridor Plan represents the collective vision of over 2,100 residents, business owners, and municipal staff, elected representatives, regional leaders, and non-governmental organizations that all have a shared interest in strengthening the homes, neighborhoods, communities throughout the Calumet Corridor in the south suburbs of Chicago.  This plan focuses upon the Village of Riverdale, Illinois. 

 

RainReady Dolton

CNT
March 10, 2017

The RainReady Calumet Corridor Plan represents the collective vision of over 2,100 residents, business owners, and municipal staff, elected representatives, regional leaders, and non-governmental organizations that all share interest in strengthening the homes, neighborhoods, communities throughout the Calumet Corridor in the south suburbs of Chicago. This document focuses upon the Village of Dolton, Illinois.

 

RainReady Calumet Park

CNT
March 10, 2017

The RainReady Calumet Corridor Plan represents the collective vision of over 2,100 residents, business owners, and municipal staff, elected representatives, regional leaders, and non-governmental organizations that all share interest in strengthening the homes, neighborhoods, communities throughout the Calumet Corridor in the south suburbs of Chicago. This document focuses on the Village of Calumet Park, Illinois.

 

RainReady Calumet City

CNT
March 10, 2017

The RainReady Calumet Corridor Plan represents the collective vision of over 2,100 residents, business owners, and municipal staff, elected representatives, regional leaders, and non-governmental organizations that all share interest in strengthening the homes, neighborhoods, communities throughout the Calumet Corridor in the south suburbs of Chicago. This document focuses on Calumet City, Illinois. 

 

RainReady Blue Island

CNT
March 10, 2017

The RainReady Calumet Corridor Plan represents the collective vision of over 2,100 residents, business owners, and municipal staff, elected representatives, regional leaders, and non-governmental organizations that all share interest in strengthening the homes, neighborhoods, communities throughout the Calumet Corridor in the south suburbs of Chicago. This document focuses on the City of Blue Island, Illinois.

 

RainReady Chatham Plan

CNT
February 22, 2017

The scope and severity of flood risk and flood-related damages in the Chatham community are among the worst in Cook County, Illinois. In September 2013, CNT began its Chatham program outreach through the RainReady initiative. This document is a product of this initiative, in partnership with resident leaders, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineeers, and CNT's funders and supporters. It builds upon our earlier publication, RainReady Chatham Phase One Report, and provides a comprehensive community-first plan that includes solutions on multiple scales: the individual property, the street and neighborhood, and the community. 

 

RainReady Midlothian Plan

CNT
January 8, 2016

What would a RainReady Midlothian look like? It would be a community where residents and businesses benefit from flood relief in a way that also brings neighborhood beautification, retail activity, jobs, recreation, and habitat conservation.

In order to better understand Midlothian’s flood risk, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Floodlothian Midlothian, and the Village of Midlothian joined together in January 2015. Throughout 2015, this group met monthly, hosted three community meetings, conducted a survey of 253 residents, and published the RainReady Midlothian Interim Report, an account of existing flood risk in the village. Together, we have established a shared vision for a RainReady Midlothian, summarized in this report.

 

RainReady Chatham Phase One Report

CNT
October 19, 2015

Chatham, a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, has been susceptible to flooding since it was first developed in the 1860s. In January 2015, the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and a group of neighborhood flood victims joined together to launch RainReady Chatham to look for solutions. This report presents the findings of our flood risk analysis and preliminary suggestions for how to fix Chatham's flooding problems.

 

RainReady Midlothian Interim Report

CNT
June 25, 2015

Since September 2014, CNT and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have been working closely with the Village of Midlothian and a variety of community and agency partners to assess the cause and characteristics of chronic urban flooding in Midlothian, a southwest suburb of Chicago. Data has been collected through a resident survey, expert analysis of existing storm sewer systems and watershed topography, a newly installed streamflow gage on Natalie Creek, as well as archived and recent precipitation data. This interim report summarizes and synthesizes these many sources of information collected to date, and begins to identify opportunities for intervention to support resilience in Midlothian.

 

A RainReady Nation: Protecting American Homes and Businesses in a Changing Climate

by CNT
January 22, 2015

As storms become increasingly destructive, homes and businesses face a heightened risk of  urban flooding, even when they aren’t located in formally designated floodplains. CNT’s RainReady program offers innovative, cost-effective solutions to keep properties dry and help communities stay resilient in the face of a changing climate.

 

An Assessment of Water Loss Among Lake Michigan Permittees in Illinois

by Chicago Metropolian Agency for Planning (CMAP) and CNT
October 28, 2014

In 2012, over 22 billion gallons of Lake Michigan water, worth between an estimated $64 million and $147 million, were lost to leaky, aging infrastructure. CNT and CMAP studied the water loss control techniques used by Lake Michigan water suppliers and found that over the last several years, 21% of permittees have been out of compliance with the current 8% annual water loss standard set by Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). In addition to offering recommendations to IDNR, this report also acknowledges the challenges faced by utilities in tackling the water loss issue and provides manageable solutions specifically addressing available industry best practices.

 

The Prevalence and Cost of Urban Flooding

by CNT
May 14, 2013

First-of-its-kind analysis that combines insurance and FEMA claims data, property owner surveys, and GIS mapping of flooding in an urban environment. Part of a first phase of research at CNT on the prevalence and cost of flooding to property owners—such as homes and businesses—in urban and suburban areas. (Updated May 2014)