11/29/12

In the news: What’s on tap for water policy?

One issue that cuts across local, state, and federal levels in terms of importance is our need for water. Water issues have been in the news, especially with regards to old systems and infrastructure that need to be upgraded and repaired to meet growing future needs.

Situated along the shore of Lake Michigan, metropolitan Chicago has benefitted for centuries from an abundance of fresh water. The infrastructure for delivering water is primarily underground: out of sight, out of mind. But awareness of the existing infrastructure’s condition and the challenges faced by community water suppliers has grown in recent years due to service and budget concerns. 

IISG’s Margaret Schneemann, water resource economist with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) recently wrote a blog about water policy and the 2012 elections. Schneemann explains “Addressing our aging water infrastructure and funding investment needs are top concerns of our communities here in northeastern Illinois.”

From the blog
“Given the post-election climate, the AWWA predicts that a proposed Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority (WIFIA) -- patterned after the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) -- will be the most likely vehicle for federal investment in water infrastructure… While the WIFIA is an important strategy to make large-scale water infrastructure investment more affordable for local communities, the AWWA continues to believe that local rates and charges are the best funding sources.
Read the complete blog post at the link above.

CMAPs regional comprehensive plan, GO TO 2040, recommends that communities adopt full-cost pricing to help address the need for investment in water infrastructure at the local level. CMAP and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant will release a full-cost water pricing guide for local leaders this winter.

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