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MPC and Openlands Roundtable — Rain Check: Regional Solutions to Stormwater Management

This summer’s drought is no fluke. The Chicago region’s precipitation patterns are trending toward longer periods without rain punctuated by sudden bursts of rapid, intense rainfall that overload local and regional sewer systems — causing basement back-ups basements and untreated discharges to waterways. Solutions exist, but they are costly and require coordination between multiple units of government and private property owners.
Fortunately, the Chicago region doesn’t face these challenges alone. Other midwestern metropolitan areas with comparable climate, infrastructure and water management governance structures are grappling with the same issues: How do we priortize investment in gray vs. green infrastructure? How do we motivate private property owners to deal with the rain falling on their land? What are the best roles for federal and state agencies to support regional and local solutions? How do we develop interjurisidictional solutions that match the sewershed scale of the problem?
This MPC and Openlands roundtable will feature the leaders of neighboring midwestern metropolitan stormwater management systems and will explore what can be learned from each other about collaboration, investment criteria, and overcoming barriers.
David St. Pierre, Executive Director, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
Kevin Shafer, Executive Director, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
Kellie Rotunno, Director of Engineering and Construction, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Cleveland
Thanks to ComEd for sponsoring this event.