Chicago to invest in stormwater management infrastructure

Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has announced that he plans to spend US$50 million of the city’s water and sewer infrastructure budget on green stormwater management, over the next 5 years.

These $10 million annually will reduce pollution runoff into the Chicago River and Lake Michigan by investing in things like permeable pavements and planting trees and other plant species. They could reduce runoff by 250 million gallons per year, also reducing flooding risk to Chicago residents.

The new Green Stormwater Infrastructure Strategy Initiative has two major pieces: building capital projects that include green stormwater infrastructure in their plans; and planning for the future, using studies of climate change impacts on rainfall to assess costs and benefits of larger-scale green stormwater infrastructure implementation, as part of a comprehensive city plan.

This is the largest voluntary investment in green stormwater infrastructure made by an American city to date. Implementation is scheduled for autumn 2013.