IlIinois Moves to Make Water Infrastructure More Resilient to Climate Impacts

Governor Quinn  of Illinois will soon receive a bill for his signature that will increase the amount of state support for green infrastructure, water efficiency, and other projects that make communities’ water infrastructure better prepared for the future impacts of climate change. Image removed.

The Illinois House of Representatives passed SB 2780 that will make low interest loans, loan guarantees and other forms of financial support available from the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund  for projects that will help make drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems more sustainable and resilient to floods, droughts, extreme weather and other climate related impacts.

The National Climate Assessment, released earlier this week, makes it clear that climate impacts on our water resources are already being felt in the Midwest and will become more acute in the future.

The bill passed the State Senate unanimously in March. The House passed an identical bill in April, also unanimously, but legislative procedure required the House to pass the Senate bill (not just an identical bill), which is why it took another month to be sent to Governor Quinn’s desk. 

Governor Quinn has already committed to signing the legislation in a press statement released earlier.  Given that his administration worked very closely with NRDC to draft the bill in the first place, he is certainly happy to take out his pen and make it law.  Governor Quinn has pledged to add $1 billion in new funding to the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund this year, so the timing of this legislation could not be better.

NRDC’s Midwest Program Director, Henry Henderson, has a very interesting piece on Huffingtgon Post that describes a host of other actions Illinois is pursuing to make its water infrastructure better prepared to deal with the effects of climate change. 

NRDC commends Governor Quinn, State Senator Dan Kotowski, and State Representative Elaine Nekritz for their efforts on this legislation.