1/17/14

New water management guide helps communities plan and conserve

The recent release of Water Management Resource Guide is giving a boost to water conservation in DuPage County, Illinois’ second most populated county. Residents throughout the county can now get help from community conservation coordinators to better understand the need to conserve water supplies and advocate for city-wide conservation efforts. It is all a part of the Water Conservation and Protection Program developed by the DuPage Water Commission. Along with conservation coordinators, the program provides easy tips for reducing water use at home—like repairing leaky toilets and watering lawns at specific times—and makes it easier for residents to learn about conservation efforts already underway in their communities. 

To prepare conservation coordinators for their new role, the water commission held a four-part workshop series in summer 2013 led by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Metropolitan Planning Council, and MWH Global. Workshop planners invited IISG’s water economist Margaret Schneemann to talk with conservation coordinators about one of the biggest challenges to water management: pricing. Her presentation focused on information from her Full-Cost Water Pricing Guidebook for Sustainable Community Water Systems. A summary of the presentation, Rates and Revenue, is included in the Water Management Resource Guide. 

Here is what Margaret had to say about the summer’s events: 

“I was excited to be invited by Abby Crisostomo at MPC to present my work on water rates at the DuPage Water Commission’s workshop series. As a resource economist with IISG, one of my roles has been to support regional implementation of the CMAP Water 2050 Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan.  Designating a community conservation coordinator was a key recommendation made in the Water 2050 Plan, and it is terrific that the DuPage Water Commission not only implemented this recommendation but also provided training workshops and the summary resource guide. One conundrum facing conservation coordinators is that the result of successful water conservation—declines in water use—tends to decrease revenue. Water managers therefore need solutions to balance their water conservation goals with the financial resiliency of the system. In my work on this issue, I’ve sought to help planners better understand the relationships between rates, revenues, and water conservation as they craft water conservation plans for their communities. This workshop series brought together many great presenters and resources for the participants, and it was enjoyable to take part in.”

For further information on water conservation, planning, and management, visit our water supply page.

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