Additional sources of water do exist and can be tapped, but the cost of providing clean water increases with the necessity of water treatment, storage, and distribution, and the mitigation of impacts of new withdrawals on existing water supplies. Long lead times also are needed to construct major water projects. Unless the water supplies of Illinois are planned and managed in a comprehensive, regional, and visionary manner--based on the concept of renewable water supply capacity--water shortages could soon occur in some parts of the state. Water supply planning and management should be based on improved understanding and prediction of water supply and demand, and risk assessment.
The goal of this plan is to provide a framework for Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) water supply programs and to document those studies that ISWS, working with others, needs to conduct to provide Illinois with comprehensive technical data and information, models, and training for water supply planning and management.
The following are the main tasks described in the plan:
- Collaborate with other organizations to coordinate and integrate relevant programs, set priorities, plan activities, conduct studies, and seek additional resources.
- Assemble, archive, digitize, analyze, and synthesize existing data.
- Determine areas of possible water shortages as a basis for setting priorities.
- Evaluate the quantity and quality of water resources throughout the state as they relate to water supply.
- Provide yield estimates for major aquifers and surface waters under variable and changing climatic conditions.
- Identify critical data gaps and conduct field studies to gather additional data and monitor the state’s water resources.
- Evaluate opportunities for water conservation and reuse.
- Interpret and apply technical and economic data to assist and train water resource planners and managers.
- Develop and improve methods and models to evaluate water resources.
- Develop new quality-assured databases and an Internet-based decision support system to make data and models easily available for application by other agencies, professionals, and the general public.
The rate and order of implementation of these studies will depend upon the level and sources of funds and priorities and upon collaborative efforts with other organizations. Existing resources are addressing many of these topics, but resources are limited so progress will be slow. A major infusion of new resources is needed for timely implementation of the studies described.