At the Crystal Lake Kiwanis Club meeting two weeks ago, former State Representative Ricca Slone (D-Peoria) gave a talk on water.
Since leaving the legislature, she has moved back to Chicago and is working for the Environmental Law and Policy Center.
With water wars breaking out in McHenry County, her message was not a political one.
Rather it had to do with the necessity for water conservation in McHenry County.
The reason is pretty obvious, but, for those who don’t know that McHenry County will never get Lake Michigan water, there it is.
All of Lake Michigan’s water is spoken for. Illinois only gets so much and the users are pretty much determined.
“If you’re not getting Lake Michigan water, you’re not going to get Lake Michigan water,” she said.
(Now, it is true that Chicago could free up some water by actually metering it and charging according to usage, but I’m not holding my breath.)
McHenry County is destined to get its water from wells.
Slone argued for
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future.And her message was short and direct:
Without changes in current usage, there won’t be enough water.She pointed to the Baxter & Woodman study that shows McHenry County is “already drawing down more than 90% of what is available” in Algonquin and Grafton Townships.
And, the Catch-22 of development is that it “greatly affects ground water. Impermeable surfaces cover re-charge areas” for shallow aquifers.
And, she pointed out, water that could be used to re-charge aquifers often literally goes down the drain, ending up in the Gulf of Mexico, instead of the ground under McHenry County.
She pitched “water conservation plans” for local governments.
One example of what one might include is simple enough.
Did you know that top loading washing machines use more water than ones where the door opens in front?
My family has owned both, but I certainly hadn’t figured that out.
Slone suggested that agreements with new developers could require that they install front loaders, instead of their more water-using counterpart. Every load of wash would save more than half the water used by some toploaders, she said.
Annual water savings?
And, that’s not counting energy savings, if one uses heated water.
Other suggestions include water permeable tile, rather than asphalt. (That fights with the desire not to let oil products enter the aquifer, however.)
Posted first at McHenry County Blog.