Social justice, climate change impacts integrated into plan for first time
The Illinois State Water Plan, which serves as a blueprint for addressing key water-related challenges in the state over the next decade, has been updated for the first time since 1984 and is available to help guide state and local leaders in setting priorities for water resources.
Different from previous Illinois state water plans, the updated plan intentionally strives to integrate social and environmental justice perspectives into recommendations in every section to better serve economically and socially marginalized individuals and communities in Illinois. It also addresses climate change impacts for the first time.
“Like throwing a rock into a lake, implemented actions of the plan and the resulting plan accomplishments over the next seven to 10 years will have ripple effects in Illinois for the next 50 years,” said Loren Wobig, director of IDNR’s Office of Water Resources and chair of the State Water Plan Task Force. “These effects are necessary to address a changing climate, economy, landscape and social structure.”
The report was prepared by members of the State Water Plan Task Force and the state agencies they represent, as well as a range of diverse individuals representing a broad spectrum of water interests in Illinois.
The updated Illinois State Water Plan spotlights 13 key water issues and focuses on improving the resiliency, sustainability, public safety, stewardship, economic development, and understanding of the water resources of Illinois to improve the lives of the people of the state.
The State Water Plan presents an opportunity to adjust state programs and policies in water resources by recommending necessary changes and new ideas to elected officials and key leaders in the state of Illinois. The updated State Water Plan provides a seven-year-focus strategic plan containing 147 actionable and measurable recommendations for future inclusive and equitable state water resources development in Illinois.
Directors and leaders from nine state agencies and programs have signed a letter of support for recommendations outlined in the report. Those organizations include IDNR, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Water Survey, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Water Resources Center, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, and the Illinois Pollution Control Board.
The next phase is to work closely with the General Assembly to implement the plan. The plan is dynamic and subject to change by the State Water Plan Task Force based on stakeholder collaboration to address these changes in Illinois for the good of its inhabitants.