The following resources are categorized in order of the best practices outlined in the GO section of Drinking Water 1-2-3. MPC has also featured the websites of numerous agencies and organizations that directly relate to drinking water management in our region. We encourage you and your staff to use these helpful handbooks, reports, tools and websites to employ the practices outlined in this guide.
Protect your source
Conduct source water assessments
- Source Water Protection Basics: A detailed overview about source water: what it is, and the step-by-step process that is taken to complete assessments.
- Source Water Assessment Program Fact Sheet: A thorough breakdown of what source water assessments are and has answers to a lot of frequently asked questions and general information.
- Drinking Water Contaminants – Standards and Regulations: An overview by the US EPA about drinking water standards and regulations, including monitoring and regulating.
- Private Well Water Testing: This website provides private well owners useful information for protecting their drinking water supply.
Support regulatory compliance and utility staff
- Understanding the Safe Drinking Water Act: A useful source to help understand the Safe Drinking Water Act.
- Drinking Water Requirements for States and Public Water Systems: Published by the US EPA, this source provides information about public water systems.
- Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR): Hosted by the US EPA, this website enables anyone to locate a particular utility’s CCR. The webpage also provides education about what CCR’s are and how they work.
- Drinking Water Watch: This tool allows anyone to view violations that have been made by any water utility.
- Title 35 of the Illinois Administrative Code: Statutes, Legislation, and Regulations: Explains environmental regulations as outlined by the Illinois Pollution Control Board.
- Water Wells:This webpage by the Illinois Department of Public Health provides detailed information about groundwater wells including permitting and regulation.
- Protecting Water Quality by Optimizing the Operations and Maintenance of Distribution Systems: This guide provides information on how to maintain water quality in drinking water distribution systems.
- Effective Utility Management: This guide outlines successful water utility management strategies for any community.
Practice sensible salting
- Environmental Fact Sheet: This fact sheet provides important information about the impacts of road salt on water quality, and outlines best practices that can help reduce these negative impacts.
- Road Salt and Water Quality: This source provides an overview on road salt and its relationship to water quality.
- Snow and Ice Control Best Management Practices: Parking Lots, Sidewalks, Roads: This document provides ideas and best management practices for snow and ice removal.
- Minnesota Stormwater Manual: This document contains a number of resources relating to winter parking lot and sidewalk maintenance which can be employed in our region as well.
Encourage sensible fertilizing and landscaping
- Lawn to Lake Program: This webpage provides information and training program for practicing heathy lawn and landscape care that can protect water quality.
- Preventing Pollution Problems from Lawn and Garden Fertilizers: This webpage provides alternative fertilizing methods that can help reduce water pollution.
- Small Systems with a Big Problem: Harmful Algal Blooms: Provides information about the US EPA’s recommendations for dealing with harmful algal blooms.
Improve hazardous waste and pharmaceutical disposal
- Household Hazardous Waste: This webpage provides general information about hazardous waste disposal, what wastes are acceptable, how to organize a collection in your community.
- Disposal Guide to Household Hazardous Wastes: This guide provides guidance on proper disposal of hazardous waste to reduce negative impacts on the environment.
- Safe Disposal of Medicine: This webpage by the Illinois EPA explains different methods for appropriate pharmaceutical disposal to avoid water supply contamination.
- Communicating about Lead Service Lines: A Guide for Water Systems Addressing Service Line Repair and Replacement: This document outlines effective programs and communication strategies for working with consumers to ensure protection from lead service lines.
- Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water: This webpage provides a valuable overview of information and additional links about lead in drinking water.
Ensure you have enough
Track water usage
- Illinois State Water Survey: Water Inventory Program: This webpage outlines the purpose, legal requirements and how to submit your utility’s water use information.
- Best Practices to Consider When Evaluating Water Conservation and Efficiency as an Alternative for Water Supply Expansion: This document outlines best practices to consider when using water conservation and efficiency as a way to expand drinking water supply.
- AWE Water Conservation Tracking Tool: This webpage highlights a tracking tool for water conservation, and how using this tool can help improve water efficiency in your community.
Conduct annual water loss audits
- Best Practices in Water Loss Control: Improved Concepts for 21st Century Water Management: This document provides a breakdown of updated water loss control practices and terminology.
- The State of Water Loss Control in Drinking Water Utilities: This white paper provides water utilities an overview on the latest best practices for reducing your community’s non-revenue water loss.
- An Assessment of Water Loss Among Lake Michigan Permittees in Illinois: This report assessed water loss among Lake Michigan permittees in Illinois in an effort to understand and improve water-loss control practices and challenges.
- Immeasurable Loss: Modernizing Lake Michigan Water Use: This report provides an overview of MPC’s findings on water loss within Illinois’ Lake Michigan water supply area.
Analyze supply and demand
- Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan: This webpage features our region’s current water supply/demand plan and makes recommendations on how to avoid developing issues.
- Groundwater Depletion in Chicago’s Southwestern Suburbs:This document highlights the current issues of groundwater depletion in our region.
- Changing Groundwater Levels in the Sandstone Aquifers of Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin: Impacts on Available Water Supply: This report on changing groundwater levels and available water supply outlines the different impacts affecting aquifers in our region.
- Implication of Climate Change for Urban Water Utilities: This report outlines the impacts that climate change will have on urban water utilities, and how to be out front of these issues.
- What Climate Change Means for Illinois: A short brochure on the impact of climate change specifically in Illinois.
- Midwest Climate Change Assessment: This report highlights the impacts of climate change in the Midwest region.
- Climate Change Resource Community: This website is hosted by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and provides updated information to stay informed about the effects of climate change on water supply, water resources, water quality, infrastructure and more.
Designate groundwater recharge areas
- Groundwater Science: This webpage provides useful information about groundwater resources, permitting and data collection for communities who use groundwater for drinking water in Illinois.
- Model Ordinance: Protecting Groundwater Sources of Drinking Water: is document explains best practices for protecting groundwater sources that provide drinking water for communities.
- Groundwater Resources: This website provides an overview about groundwater resources and as well as contact information for the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which has numerous resources to assist communities.
Reduce drinking water demand
- Model Water Use Conservation Ordinance: This document provides a template for adopting an outdoor model water use conservation in your community in order to reduce demand on the drinking water system.
- EPA WaterSense Program: This website outlines US EPA’s WaterSense Program, provides free resources, and outlines ways to help conserve water in your community.
Maintain your infrastructure
Practice asset management
- Asset Management Guidance for Water Systems: This site provides resources and workshops about how to effectively manage your water utilities assets.
- Asset Management: A Best Practices Guide: This guide outlines best practices for water utility asset management.
- Sustainable Water Infrastructure: Asset Management for Water and Wastewater Utilities: This website gives useful information about water infrastructure and how important asset management can be in terms of maintaining efficient water service.
- Sustainable Infrastructure for Small System Public Services: A Planning and Resource Guide: This guide provides informational material, worksheets, examples, and other resources on water conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy for water utilities.
Be smart about planning for capital improvement projects
- Water Infrastructure Financial Leadership: This resource is a helpful guide to assist local decision makers in structuring successful financial practices for water infrastructure entities
- Getting Your Project to Flow Smoothly: A guide to Developing Water and Wastewater Infrastructure: This guide provides guidance for getting infrastructure projects off the ground and running smoothly.
- Successfully Protecting Your Investment in Drinking Water Infrastructure: Best Practices from Communities and Local Experts: This resource provides information and best practices for maintaining successful drinking water infrastructure.
- A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-Operator’s Guide to Drinking Water Systems: This guide provides a sound education for community leaders on matters related to managing drinking water systems.
Support replacement of old, crumbling infrastructure
- Buried No Longer: Confronting America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge: This is an AWWA report that lays out the developing challenges that have been laying beneath the ground, out of sight. The report calls for the ‘Era of Infrastructure Replacement’ and stresses the need to set aside funding to improve our water infrastructure
- The Case for Fixing the Leaks: Protecting People and Saving Water while Supporting Economic Growth in the Great Lakes Region: This report outlines the issue of water loss control and goes into detail on particular actions and practices that should be used to ensure maximum efficiency in water use.
- Community Water Supply (CWS) FAQ’s Regarding Water Mains and Water Service Lines: This webpage helps answer questions about water infrastructure maintenance, including water mains and water service lines.
- Things Local Officials Should do for Sustainable Water Infrastructure: This webpage offers local officials steps and actions for achieving greater sustainability in their community’s water supply infrastructure.
Finance your system
Set appropriate water rates based on need
- Formulate Great Rates: The Guide to Conducting a Rate Study for a Water System: This document is a resource for developing a best practice rate study and next steps.
- Full-Cost Water Pricing Guidebook for Sustainable Community Water Systems: This report goes into detail about the general costs, best practices and methods for setting an appropriate water rate pricing.
- Financing Sustainable Water: Rates Revenue Resources: This webpage provides information on how to develop water rates, fiscal sustainability and other important practices for ensuring a fiscally sound drinking water system.
- Water Pricing Primer for the Great Lakes Region: This report provides a framework for appropriate water pricing as an essential tool for both resource management and financial sustainability.
- Pricing and Affordability of Water Services: This webpage provides general facts and an overview on water rate pricing and affordability considerations.
- The Basics of Financial Management for Small-Community Utilities: This document provides information about the basics of financial management for water utilities.
Finance your capital improvement needs
- Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center: This website by US EPA provides technical assistance, funding frameworks, and finance webinars that local officials can utilize to learn more about appropriate water system financing.
- Tools for Financing Water Infrastructure: This report provides a collection of financing mechanisms that can be used to fund water infrastructure maintenance.
- Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Water and Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure: Written by the American Society of Civil Engineers, this document provides an analysis of the economic implications for the US of its continued underinvestment in infrastructure.
- Illinois EPA State Revolving Fund: This webpage outlines the State Revolving Fund program, which provides low-interest loans to fund water infrastructure projects.
- Local Government Revenue Bond Program:This document outlines Illinois Finance Authority’s Local Government Revenue Bond Program that can assist units of local government with funding water infrastructure.
- Local Government Direct Bond Purchase (Alternate Revenue Bonds): This document outlines the process of local government bond purchases by the Illinois Finance Authority.
Plan and coordinate with your neighbors
Include water in your community comprehensive plans
- Sample Community Comprehensive Plan with Water: The City of Golden Valley, MN demonstrates an effective way for including water resource planning and management within a municipality’s comprehensive plan.
- Planning Policy Guide on Water: This guide by the American Planning Association addresses ways in which water can and should be incorporated into local community comprehensive plans through a number of different policy methods.
- Water-Wise Cities: This initiative by the International Water Association help community leaders develop, implement and promote resilient urban water management and design into their larger community plans.
- One Water Hub: This website by the US Water Alliance outlines what One Water is, and provides helpful resources for shaping these important practices within communities.
- Pathways to One Water: A Guide for Institutional Innovation: This document highlights research and practices for One Water management as well as and useful case studies to provide context.
- Integrated Water Resource Planning: This report outlines a holistic approach to water system management, and reviews useful strategies for implementation.
Plan for droughts
- Drought Response and Recovery: A Basic Guide for Water Utilities: This interactive guide by US EPA outlined response plans, funding, and other useful tools for minimizing the impacts of drought on your water supply.
- Planning and Preparedness: This webpage from the US Drought Portal contains useful information about how to prepare in advance for a drought as well as links to other drought related resources.
- State of Illinois Drought Preparedness and Response Plan: This document contains the plan established by the state of Illinois for acting in response to a situation of drought.
- The Water Cycle and Water Budgets in Illinois: A Framework for Drought and Water-Supply Planning: This report helps better understand the implications and funding for drought and water supply planning in Illinois.
- U.S. Drought Monitor: This webpage shows updated maps and information about current drought conditions across the United States.
- What is Drought: This webpage goes into a detailed definition and explanation of drought from the National Drought Mitigation Center
Be prepared for emergencies
- Planning for an Emergency Drinking Water Supply: This document outlines US EPA’s plan of action for addressing occurrences of water shortages or other emergency-like situations that can put water supply in jeopardy.
- Water System Security and Resilience: This webpage provided by US EPA provides strategies, tools and additional resource for water utilities to efficiently and effectively handle drinking water contamination emergencies.
- Emergency Preparedness Resource Community: This webpage by AWWA provides information about the Water Agency Response Network (WARN), which is a network of utilities that help other utilities respond to and recover from emergencies.
Embrace regional water supply coordination and service sharing
- Water System Partnerships Case Studies: This webpage features background on the practice of water service sharing and partnerships as well as case studies demonstrating the multiple benefits for communities.
- Northwest Water Planning Alliance: Resource Center: This website provides further information about this regional water supply planning group and, lists all of the free resources it has created.
Engage your community
Implement water conservation and demand management
- Lawn and Landscape Practices: This document outlines a number of ideas for more environmentally friendly landscaping, gardening and fertilizing practices that can help reduce outdoor water use.
- Water Conservation Lawn Watering Ordinance: This document outlines ordinance language communities can adopt that promotes outdoor water saving methods and requirements for lawn watering.
- WaterSense Products: This webpage provides a detailed explanation of products that can be used to help promote the more efficient use of water through the WaterSense program.
Provide community education and engagement programs
- Communicating the Value of Drinking Water Services: Using Campaigns and Community Engagement Efforts:This guide outlines effective strategies for implementing effective campaigns and engagement efforts to help communicate the importance of drinking water service to your community.
- How to Communicate the Value of Water and Engage the Public: This webpage provides methods for communicating the importance of water to the public and getting them more engaged.
- A Resource for Community Leaders: This guide provides general information for public officials about water utility management and education.
Related agency websites
- Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE)
- American Water Works Association
- Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)
- Illinois Commerce Commission
- Illinois Department of Natural Resources
- Illinois Department of Public Health
- Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
- Illinois Finance Authority
- Illinois Indiana Sea Grant
- Illinois Section of the American Water Works Association
- Illinois Water Inventory Program
- Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC)
- Northwest Water Planning Alliance
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—WaterSense Program