Regional Water Supply Planning

Understanding and preparing for a changing world with limited resources has spurred the creation of regional water supply planning programs in states across the nation. In Illinois, the Department of Natural Resources has been given the task of developing and maintaining a robust and forward-looking regional water supply planning program, one that can serve the social, economic, and environmental needs of the state well into the future. However, the need to plan for the future has to compete with the priorities of today.

Greenleaf Advisors has been engaged to assist the Office of Water Resources with several tasks:

    •  To perform research into the regional water supply planning programs underway in other states, including a focus on types of funding mechanisms employed and the oversight structures and planning standards used.
    • To identify and support the development of regional planning organizations in priority regions to act as the core of the new regional planning councils.

In the fall of 2013, Greenleaf delivered a report on funding mechanisms used in other states, with a particular focus on how these could be deployed within Illinois’ legal and financial context, the long-term stability of the mechanism, and oversight procedures. Greenleaf also stimulated the interest of planning agencies in two of the targeted regions to apply to the Illinois DNR for initial funding. These represent the first new regions in Illinois to start the crucial planning process in several years.

Greenleaf’s experience working across sectors is particularly valuable for a project such as this, in which the solutions to a critical resource issue will only be achieved by engaging the full range of stakeholders across the social, economic, and environmental spectrum.